Sat, 27 Sep 2003

PNG asked to send home soldier's corpse

JAYAPURA, Papua: The chief of the Trikora Military Command, Maj. Gen. Nurdin Zainal, urged Papua New Guinea (PNG) to send home the body of an Indonesian soldier, First Sgt. Irfan, who was killed by Papuan rebels.

Nurdin said here on Friday that he had asked the Indonesian ambassador in PNG to help repatriate the remains of Irfan, who was killed on June 28 in the border area between Papua and the neighboring country.

"The soldier's body was buried in Cemara village, Sandaun province, PNG, several days after he was killed by a separatist group based in PNG territory," he added.

Nurdin said Irfan had become separated from a group of Indonesian troops patrolling in the border area before he was killed.

At the time, he said, the victim had met a PNG citizen who offered to guide him back to the border area. But he rejected the offer and continued walking.

On his way back to the border area, Irfan met Papuan rebels, who then killed him, Nurdin explained.

He said he had received a report that PNG was encountering difficulties in sending the soldier's remains back to Indonesia. --Antara