INDEPENDENT NEWS

Indonesian Troops Shoot At Irian Jaya Protesters

Published: Fri 3 Dec 1999 11:14 AM
WEST PAPUA: Indonesian troops fire on protesters
Origin: Pasifik Nius
Source: Agence France Presse
INDONESIAN TROOPS SHOOT AT PROTESTERS IN IRIAN JAYA, WOUND 28
Article provided by the Journalism Programmme, University of the South Pacific. Pasifik Nius. Email To: Pacific Media Watch
JAKARTA, Dec 2 (AFP) - Indonesian troops shot at protestors in the easternmost province of Irian Jaya Thursday injuring 28 people trying to stop the separatist flag from being lowered, a local rights group said.
The shooting took place at 7:30 am (2230 GMT Wednesday) in front of the Three Kings church in Timika, a district town near the giant gold and copper mine
operated by Freeport McMoRan, said John Rumbiak, the head of the local chapter of the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy.
The troops fired on a group of activists who had gathered to stop the separatists' Morning Star flag from being taken down which they had raised in front of the church on November 10.
There were some 2,000 people at the church compound when the shooting took
place, Rumbiak said. The flag was finally taken down by the security personnel, he added.
"I cannot understand, the province's police and military chiefs have said
that as long as it (the event) was peaceful, there would be no problem," Rumbiak said.
Reports from rights activists said four of the wounded were being treated at
the Freeport hospital while 24 others were at the Caritas hospital in Timika, he said.
At least ten people were arrested but he could only name three: Yosepha Alomang, an Amungme tribeswoman who has sued the Freeport McMoRan, Isak Onawame, chairman of the Christian Missionary Allience of Mimika district and Hiskia Merarabuyam, who organised the West Papua flag raising.
The Indonesian authorities on Wednesday allowed the separatist flag to be
raised in towns across the province to mark the 38th anniversary of the declaration of the Free Papua State.
But they demanded that all flags be lowered by dusk the same day.
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Selwyn Manning - Scoop Auckland
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