25 Jul 2002

Opposition in Papua to planned Indonesian police offensive

4:46 pm on 25 July 2002

There is growing opposition in Papua province to a planned operation by Indonesian police against what they call separatists.

The secretary-general of the Traditional Council of Papua and the chairman of the regional assembly have come out against Operasi Matoa 2002.

The council secretary. Titus Hamadi, says he is puzzled by the plan which he says would allow police to target village chiefs and ordinary people as separatists.

He says a regional meeting should be called to discuss the planned operation and to decide whether such action was justified.

The chairman of the regional assembly, John Ibo, says the plan can only have a negative impact and create more conflict.

He says to combat separatism, they should hold forums to promote the ideaof devotion to the state and the unitary republic of Indonesia.