Merauke is the furthest eastern part of Indonesia and Sota, the district in Merauke of Papua, is the front line of the republic of Indonesia which is directly bordered with Papua New Guinea (PNG). Sota District is the main entrance and exit gateway for people from Indonesia to PNG, and vice versa. Hence, various related instances are present in Sota, such as the immigration post, sectoral police, and rayon military command. Due to this condition, the maintenance of border security in Sota does require special attention.
The Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia, Ryamizard Ryacudu, has promised several facilities that will support the improvement of border security and safekeeping in Sota. One of the plans is to provide drone as a reconnaissance tool and also several military vehicles. Other supporting facilities for border security tasks will also be provided by the government of Indonesia, such as cars and buses that are compatible to be used on swamps and water, railway and permanent military post.
Sota is indeed an important region, not only for Indonesia but also for PNG. People from PNG who live around the border of Indonesia-PNG often travel to Sota to shop for various goods such as rice, instant noodle, salt, sugar, coffee, clothes and fuel oil. Especially premium and solar. They come to Sota by traveling up to thousands of kilometers just to shop for goods.
One of the Sota regulars from PNG is Sandi Mahuze. This 23 years old man is a resident from Meru Village, Mohead District, PNG. He regularly comes to Sota to buy goods and then sell it in his village. He chooses to shop in Indonesia because the price of goods are cheaper than in Daruh Provincial Capital City, Kiongga, PNG. He also added that the development in Indonesia is more advanced compared to PNG. The road in Sota, for example, has already been paved.
The Border Security in Sota it self is well already qualified. There are thousands of Border Enforcement Security Task Forces (Satgas Pamtas) of Yonif 407/PK. These posts are approximately within a range of 80 km from the center of Merauke city. Every PNG citizens who want to come to Indonesia must go through check points to be checked by Satgas Pamtas and immigration posts. They also need to show their border pass to the officers.
The Ministry of Defence viewed that the provision of supporting facilities for border security in Sota is more urgent than to add more main instruments of defence system. The budget required is also more realistic. While one plane included as main defence system instrument can cost up to 1.3 trillion IDR, facilities improvement in the Sota border only require 500 billion IDR.
This assessment is in accordance with the policy of Jokowi administration which prioritizes the development in border areas of Indonesia with the neighboring countries. From the 17.504 islands of Indonesia, there are at least 92 small islands that can be positioned as basic points and reference to draw archipelagic baselines that are directly bordered with 10 neighboring countries on the sea region, distributed in 10 provinces. The development started since 2015 and it is indeed needed.