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Author Topic: Indonesia holds 15 rebels after Papua ambush, separatists deny role  (Read 4031 times)

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Indonesia's army said that 15 separatist rebels have been arrested after a bloody ambush in Papua which killed two American teachers and an Indonesian.

Monday September 2, 3:04 PM

The insurgents denied any involvement in the bloodiest attack for decades on foreigners in the resource-rich province. A non-violent group campaigning for independence suggested the army itself may have been responsible.

Indonesian authorities on Monday blamed the Free Papua Movement (OPM) for the attack on two minibuses near a huge US-run gold and copper mine on Saturday. Nine Americans and three Indonesians were injured, eight of whom were airlifted to Australia for treatment.

Army chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu said security forces had arrested 15 people under the command of Kelly Kwalik, the OPM leader in the Timika area.
"They belong to Kelly Kwalik's group. There are many OPM factions in (Papua)," he was quoted as saying by the state Antara news agency. It was not clear whether the 15 are suspected of involvement in the attack.

Ryacudu said a battalion of troops, about 800-900 men, had been deployed to hunt for the attackers along with police. Police said one armed man was shot dead and a soldier wounded in a clash during the hunt on Sunday.

Papua police spokesman Commissioner Josef Iswanto said bullet casings showed the attackers used M-16 and SS1 rifles, standard issue for Indonesia's security forces. But he denied security forces were involved.
"They (rebels) had in the past seized weapons from police and troops they attacked, as what happened to Brimob (paramilitary) police earlier this year," Iswanto told AFP.

The vice director of Papuan rights group Elsham, Aloy Renwarin, said Kwalik had denied involvement.
"They told us through a courier that they have no knowledge of the attack," Renwarin told AFP by telephone from Papua.
"They said they don't want violence and are committed to dialogue."

Elsham is sponsoring peace talks between OPM and the government scheduled for next month and Renwarin said Kwalik was ready for the dialogue.

The minibuses were taking teachers from the Tembaga Pura International school near the Freeport mine.
The US nationals killed were identified as Edwin Leon Burcon, the 57-year-old headmaster, and teacher Rickey Spear, 45.
The pacifist pro-independence Papua Presidium Council accused the military of trying to discredit the separatists by blaming the attack on OPM. It said rebels had never targeted foreigners.

(from Yahoo)

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As a clarification:
Timika is a place near the southern coast of Papua/ Irian Jaya and the road to the Freeport mine starts here.
In the mountains (close to the mine) a 20,000 pop. city has been built, Tembagapura, especially for the miners.

Papua has been repressed for many years as they never really voted for being a part of Indonesia.

As a result of the Ambush the September Carstensz Pyramid expedition has been canceled as a precaution, even though our route does not use the mining road.
But Military officials guarantee us that all will be safe again later this month and the other expeditions will commence as planned, depending on the wishes of the climbers.
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"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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