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West Papua: Government Convoy Attacked

SSP Brighton Note: This is an Associated Press report from Indonesia, so caution. However it has been posted by Papuans on West Papua News - so they at least think it rings true.

Rebels attack government convoy in Papua, one policemen killed

By JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP)

Nov 13, 2004, 06:03

Separatist rebels armed with axes and swords attacked a government convoy in Indonesia's remote Papua province, killing one police officer and injuring 12 officials, police and local media said Saturday.

About 100 insurgents from the Free Papua Movement ambushed the group Friday as they traveled to the town of Mulia, about 2,300 miles (3,701 kilometers) northeast of Jakarta, local military commander Maj. Gen. Nurdin Zainal told El-Shinta radio.

"Rebels attacked the officials with axes, swords and arrows and then ran off into the jungle," said Zainal. "I've ordered soldiers to help police in searching for the rebels."

A policeman who was escorting the group, which included 13 local government officials, was killed, Zainal said. Twelve were injured in the assault.

The group was visiting refugees who had fled their villages last month following a rebel attack that killed six migrant workers, state-run news agency Antara reported.

Indonesia took over Papua from Dutch colonial rule in 1963. Its sovereignty over the region was formalized in 1969 through a stage-managed vote by about 1,000 community leaders, which critics dismissed as a sham.

A small, poorly armed separatist movement has battled Jakarta's rule ever since. About 100,000 Papuans _ one-sixth of the population _ have died in military operations.

Rights groups have long accused the military of widespread abuses in the province, including forcibly displacing families and killing unarmed independence supporters.

The province also is home to the largest gold and copper mine in the world, which is operated by New Orleans-based Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Mine Inc.