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Indonesians (Papuans) in hiding after protest  Tapol
 Mar 23, 2006 05:03 PST 

ABC Radio

Last Update: Thursday, March 23, 2006. 12:26pm (AEDT)

Indonesians in hiding after Papua protest

By foreign affairs editor Peter Cave

Up to 1,200 students are reported to be hiding in the hills around
Jayapura, the capital of Indonesia's Papua province, fearful of revenge
attacks by members of the Indonesian Police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB).

BRIMOB has a reputation for brutality in dealing with separatist conflicts
in places such as Papua and Aceh and has been strongly criticised by
international human rights groups on many occasions.

A student rally last week demanding the closure of the giant US operated
Freeport Gold and Copper M\w ine deteriorated into a riot that police
say has left six people dead including five members of the security forces.

Elsham human rights group spokesman Aloy Renwarin says the 1,200 students
who live in dormitories at the state-run Cendrawasih University, which was
at the centre of the clash last week, are in hiding.

He says they are hungry and some are in need of medical attention.

The university remains closed and the streets are tense.

However, when asked to go on tape, he refused, saying he feared reprisals.

Local student association spokesman Hans Magel spoke by mobile phone from
Timica near the site of the mine that the students say is polluting the
environment, and is tacitly condoning human rights abuses by the Indonesian
Security forces it pays to protect it from locals displaced by the operation.

"The students are hiding in the jungle because they feel threatened. They
are short of food, the conditions are not sanitary... it's an emergency
situation," he said.

Last week, Indonesian television footage showed police shooting directly at
students in the university grounds but the authorities still have not
released details of casualties among the demonstrators, maintaining at
first that only blanks were used and then that police only fired into the air.

Police have confirmed to reporters that members of BRIMOB involved in the
clash have been confined to barracks and their weapons, about 40 in all,
have been taken from them for examination.

Indonesian reporters in Jayapura were reportedly beaten by members of
BRIMOB and had their cameras smashed in the hours and days after the riot

"I can't tell you exactly how many were shot," Mr Magel said.

"In such traumatic circumstances, we ourselves are finding it difficult
gathering casualty figures. The latest information we have is that 22 were
seriously injured."

Indonesian daily Koran Tempo has quoted a spokesman for Indonesia's Defence
Minister Juwono Sudarsono, as saying the minister believes Australian
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle was indirectly linked to last week's violence.

The newspaper says Senator Nettle was a supporter of Papuan independence
and was intending to travel to Papua province next month.

When the ABC talked to the spokesman, Bonnie Leonard, he denied the
newspaper report, but confirmed the minister would appeal to Senator Nettle
not to visit because it was not safe and that the visit might create more

Senator Nettle says she has not applied to go to Papua but she would like to.

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TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign
111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon CR7 8HW, UK.
tel +44 (0)20 8771 2904 fax +44 (0)20 8653 0322
tap-@gn.apc.org http://tapol.gn.apc.org

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