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Indonesia deploys extra troops to Papua -(16 media reports)

October 25, 2011

1) Indonesia deploys extra troops to Papua

October 25, 2011 – 9:24PM


Indonesia has sent paramilitary reinforcements to restive Papua province, after a deadly crackdown on a pro-independence rally and the shooting of a police chief.

Five Papuans were killed last Wednesday after security forces stormed a rally where participants raised the outlawed separatist flag, and a local police chief was killed on Monday by two attackers who grabbed his gun and shot him at an airport.

"So far 260 (extra) personnel from the police mobile brigade have landed in Papua province to help maintain security in two districts," provincial police spokesman Wachyono said on Tuesday.

Troops were sent to the Puncak Jaya and Paniai highlands in central Papua in Indonesia’s far east, he said, adding that they will join an existing force of 14,000 police and paramilitary troops in Papua.

Wachyono said they were still "hunting" the police chief’s killers. Authorities have said that based on preliminary investigations they are believed to be separatists.

In other incidents, gunshots were fired at police on Tuesday in the highlands, a known hub for Papuan separatists, national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam said.

"They fired shortly after the police chief’s body was flown to (the provincial capital) Jayapura. There are no casualties so far," he said.

The troop deployment also follows a long strike by miners in Papua.

Eight people have been killed this month in car ambushes and police clashes near US mining giant Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg gold and copper mine north of Timika town.

For decades, natives of the Papua region have rejected their special autonomy status within Indonesia, demanding a referendum on self-determination for the 3.6 million population.

Indonesia has strict treason laws and courts have handed down stiff penalties – from 20 years in jail to life – for people caught with separatist symbols such as the Papuan flag.

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