24 Jan 2007

Indonesia says reports of military build up in Papua part of misinformation campaign

4:18 pm on 24 January 2007

Indonesia is denying allegations of a military build-up in its Papua province.

There are reports from Papuan church and human rights groups, such as ELSHAM, that thousands of people have fled their homes in Papua's central highlands area near Puncak Jaya following an Indonesian army build-up.

They say the operation is being carried out in response to the killing of two military personnel.

An Indonesian embassy spokesperson in Canberra, Dino Kusnadi, says the reports are a campaign of misinformation.

"Theses reports are simply not true. There are no intimidations, there are no mass refugees going out. I have reports from the local police right in front of me, saying that these reports are simply not true."

But he says extra police from other Papuan provinces were sent to the area to enforce law and order, and to protect the local population.