Monday, 26 January 2009

Lost Border Markers Investigated

January 29, 2009 The Jakarta Globe

Dessy Sagita

Lost Border Markers Investigated

The Indonesian army is currently investigating the whereabouts of missing border markers in Kapuas district, West Kalimantan Province, used to delineate the boundary between Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia, an Army spokesman said on Wednesday.

“We are handling this matter seriously as it concerns our country’s sovereignty,” Brig. Gen. Christian Zebua told the Jakarta Globe.

Zebua said a team of Army personnel had been sent to Kapuas — more than 120 kilometers from Pontianak, the provincial capital — to secure the border and investigate the missing markers.

The markers are believed to have been uprooted during the recent construction of a road by a Malaysian oil palm company on the border between the two countries.

Because of the area’s relative isolation and the Army’s limited number of soldiers , Zebua said monitoring the border area in Kapuas was particularly difficult.

A local military commander first reported the disappearance of the markers two weeks ago.

Without the markers, Zebua said that the border between the two countries could become vague.

“We certainly don't want anyone to steal or claim our land, but we cannot patrol the border if we do not know where it is exactly,” Zebua said.

Zebua said that the Indonesian government had asked the Malaysian government to participate in the investigation.

He also admitted that loose supervision around the border was to blame for the loss of the markers.

The government should replace the makeshift markers with permanent fixtures to enable the army to monitor the area more thoroughly, Zebua said.