Increase in PNG Children Studying Islam in Indonesia

By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby

The Papua New Guinea Consul General in Jayapura, Indonesia, has raised concerns on the increasing number of Papua New Guinean children studying to become Muslims in Jayapura.

PNG Consul General in Jayapura, Geoffrey Wiri says, while this may be an individual decision, he is concerned about the manner in which their passports were processed.

The PNG Consulate in Jayapura acts as a High Commission and represents the PNG Government in Indonesia’s Papua Province.

Over the last six months, it has recorded an increase in young Papua New Guineans who travel to Indonesia to study Islam.

“One of them is Ahmed Abdullah, one fo this Muslim names. But these are young people. I think the last lot because some came before them and have gone but we’ve got a few from the highlands,  West New Britain, from Jiwaka, from Mendi, one from Hagen,” said PNG Consul General in Jayapura, Geoffrey Wiri.

Two weeks ago, six PNG children under the age of 16, were seen in Jayapura, dressed as Muslims.

All these children were born between 2003 and 2005; the three youngest are 12-years-old, and the eldest, just 15.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the six were without a guardian.

Based on passport records, they were under 18 years, and would not have been able to sign their passports without the consent of an adult, most probably the parent or guardian.

While the Immigration Department in Port Moresby has been made aware of such situations, the challenge for these children is understanding Bahasa, Indonesia’s national language, in order to complete their studies.

Theckla Gunga

graduated with an Arts Degree from the University of Papua New Guinea, with majors in Journalism and Public Relations. Her passion in news gathering lies in reporting on Crime and Court stories. She is into her third year reporting with EMTV and loves the challenge of being in a once male dominated field.

Theckla Gunga
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