Agence France-Presse – 11/29/2008 10:28 AM GMT
Two Papuans out of a group of 43 asylum seekers who fled Indonesia in 2006, triggering a diplomatic row with Australia, have returned home, the foreign affairs ministry said Saturday. Yunus Wainggai and his young daughter Anike were repatriated more than two years after they travelled by boat to northern Australia led by Papuan separatist activist Herman Wainggai.
“There was no force whatsoever in their decision to return home,” foreign affairs ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told AFP. “Yunus felt that he had been cheated by Herman. He was promised some money and a job but they were not realised. Yunus also told us that he missed his home and relatives,” he said. Faizasyah did not elaborate on how Yunus and Herman were related. The father and daughter flew from the Australian city of Canberra to the capital Jakarta through a transit in Denpasar, Bali. “It’s up to them to decide when they want to return to Papua,” Faizasyah said.
In September two Papuan refugees from the same group, Hana Gobay and Yubel Kareni, returned to the remote region. They also said Herman Wainggai had made them false promises. Australia’s 2006 decision to grant asylum to most of the group of Papuans briefly plunged relations between the two countries into turmoil, with Indonesia temporarily recalling its ambassador to Canberra. The decision was widely condemned as politically motivated in Indonesia, with nationalists accusing Australia of supporting Papuan independence. Indonesia took control of Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western half of New Guinea island, in 1969 after a vote among a select group of Papuans.