6 Jun 2003

Papuan students say they will not react violently despite military killings

4:21 pm on 6 June 2003

A Papuan students organisation says it will not be provoked into a violent reaction by the Indonesian military presence in the province's Central Highlands.

A spokesman for the Students Forum, Andy Ayamesiba, speaking from Vanuatu, says the movement is determined not to fall into the same traps as independence movements against Indonesian rule in Aceh.

The Students Forum is planning a peaceful protest after, they claim, at least 18 people have been killed in a military crackdown in the Wamena area following the robbery of an armoury two months ago.

"This is a very bad example for the Indonesians to publicize themselves as a peace loving nation you know.... we don't want to fall into the trap of Indonesian provocation, so as far as we are concerned we have tried to keep West Papua a zone of peace....the latest development in Aceh has cost many lives, now we think we should adopt a different strategy in order to win sympathy internationally"

Andy Ayamesiba of the Papuan Students Forum.