12 Feb 2003

Papuan leader accuses Jakarta of divide and rule tactics

4:55 pm on 12 February 2003

The Free Papua Movement's representative in Vanuatu, Andy Ayamiseba, says the Indonesian plan to split Papua province into three is aimed at crushing the independence movement.

Last month, President Megawati Sukarnoputri signed a decree to go ahead with the division which the government says is necessary because it is impossible for one governor to administer the current number of districts.

There has been strong local opposition to the plan which Mr Ayamiseba says both breaches the Indonesian constitution and contradicts its policy of special autonomy for Papua.

He says the division is aimed at creating discord among Papuans.

"The whole idea behind this is just to divide and rule. Now they were thinking that by dividing the province in three then they will have the pros and the contrast and then they leave to us to fight among ourselves so that they could by means of that disrupt the concentration of bringing a united West Papuan achieving more international support."