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Riots in West Papua leave 3 killed, others injured

Riots in Jayapura, West Papua today leave three Indonesian Police Killed and a number of demonstrators injured

Three Indonesian BRIMOB (paramilitary police) appear to have been killed and 8 Papuans have been seriously injured after a violent clash in Jayapura the capital of West Papua today. Those injured include a 5 year old child.

This report is compiled based on communication with student activists' and Jayapura residents today.

On the second day of demonstrations that caused the blocking of the main road in Jayapura, Indonesian BRIMOB Police have opened fire on the demonstrators. The demonstrators appear then to have attacked the BRIMOB with stones killing three Police officers. Two witness report seeing three BRIMOB officers lying on the road.

The demonstration comprising of West Papuan students had blocked the road outside University of Cenderwasih on Wednesday 15 March 2006.

The student demands were: that
(i) the Indonesian Army (TNI) and Police be withdrawn from West Papua;

(ii) the US based Freeport mine in West Papua should be closed down.

During the day the road was blocked and tyres were burnt on the road. The demonstration dispersed during that night.

On the next day the demonstrators re-assembled and blocked the road after cutting down the trees along the road and lighting more car tyres. A 12:12 noon (Jayapura time) today, the BRIMOB in riot gear moved in to break up the demonstration.

The BRIMOB tried to push the demonstrators off the road and used tear gas on the crowd. When the BRIMOB attempted to clear the road more people joined the demonstration and the demonstration did not disperse.

The BRIMOB then opened fire on the crowd of demonstrators. Report suggests 8 people received bullet wounds. The crowd was reported to have lay flat on the road while the BRIMOB was shooting.

The demonstrators response to this shooting was to attack the BRIMOB Police. Large stones, were reported to have been thrown at the BRIMOB Police by the demonstrators in retaliation to the Police actions. After the incident three BRIMOB officers were reported to
be dead lying on the road.

The BRIMOB together with the Indonesian Army then returned to the scene of the demonstrations.

The security forces are now reported to be sweeping the roads and detaining any Papuan Highland students. Forty people are reported to have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Some reports suggest that up to 8 Police officers were injured. These reports have not able to be verified.

Verifying the number of people injured has been difficult as Security forces have imposed tight control in the area and no-one is in the streets tonight.

Students in the dormitories around Abepura are reported to have moved or are hiding. Two of the Cenderawasih University student dormitories have been shot with automatic weapons.

Gunshots could be heard in Jayapura in the hours after the demonstration.

The 8 injured Papuans now appear to have transferred to Hospital. Security forces have blocked injured people from medical attention in the main Hospital in Jayapura.

Church leaders are seeking to get an assessment of the situation.

In other regions reports have emerged of an incident where demonstrators vandalised the Sheraton in Timika adjacent to the Freeport copper mine on 15/3/06. Papuan there are reported to be demanding that the Freeport mine be closed and the Indonesian Military been withdrawn from West Papua.

The situation has deteriorated in West Papua this year. The New York Times report that Freeport has been making payments of millions of dollars to the Indonesian Military has fueled long held resentment to the company and Indonesian occupation of West Papua. In the past year Indonesian troop numbers have been greatly expanded in West Papua. The 3 Battalion previously stationed there has been expanded to 6 Battalions. Papuan sources report 40-50,000 Indonesian troops now being stationed in West Papua.

© Scoop Media

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