30 Aug 2002

Indonesian police alleged to seek to destroy Papua Presidium Council

11:08 am on 30 August 2002

New information on an Indonesian police crackdown in Papua province shows its key aim is to destroy the Presidium Council to avert a second East Timor.

The Presidium is the main civilian body advocating independence, which it hopes to achieve through a dialogue with Jakarta.

According to The Australian newspaper, minutes of Indonesian police meetings show that militants pose little risk but there is concern that lobbying by the Presidium could help change sentiment in countries such as the US and Australia.

A Presidium member based in Port Moresby, Clemens Runawery, says the current police crackdown, called Operasi Adil Matoa, won't work.

"The more oppression the Indonesians are carrying out in West Papua, the more people will be standing up to call for independence. So even if the Presidium leadership is crushed they cannot crush the will power of the people."

Clemens Runawery