Church calls on PNG Govt to protect Papuan civilians
The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea says the country's government is refusing to protect hundreds of civilians fleeing fighting across the border in the Indonesian Province of Papua, formerly Irian Jaya.
ABC News reports that the Bishop of Sepik Province, Cesare Boniventu, has called on the United Nations to pressure the PNG Government to accord refugee status to women and children fleeing to the border region.
He says the church has been taking care of the refugees with food and shelter, but is now being blocked from going to the area.
Bishop Boniventu says fighting in Papua is spreading and getting worse.
But he says details are sketchy because there has been an information blackout since the beginning of December on what is happening in Papua.
In the latest reported violence, blamed on separatists from the Free Papua Movement, two men were killed and another two critically wounded in an attack on a timber business close to the border.