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Papua Killings Seen as Serious Escalation, Says Academic

February 27, 2013

Papua Killings Seen as Serious Escalation, Says Academic

February 25, 2013

Radio New Zealand International

A leading researcher on West Papua says last week’s fatal shootings
in Puncack Jaya represent a serious escalation in tensions in
Indonesia’s Papua region.

Eight Indonesian soldiers and four civilians were killed in two
separate shooting incidents in the remote Highlands regency, for which
military chiefs have blamed the separatist OPM Free West Papua

Following the shootings, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono said the government would use a welfare-based approach
rather than a military one to keep the peace in Papua.

But Jim Elmslie of Sydney University’s West Papua Project fears the
violence will grow.

“The whole province of West Papua is highly militarised now which
might well have helped to lead to this escalation in the conflict.
Obviously, there are a lot more weapons floating around and more dark
forces that are not under the government control or are conducting
black operations. I think the President’s words probably don’t
carry much weight in the jungles of West Papua.”

Jim Elmslie

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