21 Jan 2010

Fears for more tension in Mimika after killing of Papua's Kwalik

6:14 pm on 21 January 2010

A Papua analyst says increasing militarisation of Indonesia's Mimika district and recent actions by police are incendiary for local Papuans aggrieved by the killing of separatist leader Kelly Kwalik.

The senior Free Papua Movement leader was shot dead by police in a raid in Timika town last month, prompting anger among many Papuans, especially the local Amungme tribe.

There's been a steady increase in the presence of security forces in the Timika area since a series of deadly shootings of staff from the nearby Freeport gold and copper mine last July.

The convener of Sydney University's West Papua Project, Jim Elmslie, says there is a high potential for turmoil.

"Certainly amongst the Amungme population and the West Papuans, they're still incredibly sad and angry about the killing of Kwalik. And I noticed this week that fifty policemen were given commendations on their behaviour, or over the Kwalik killing, so that's really spitting in the face of the Papuans. More troops, more police, it increases the tension in the whole region."

Jim Elmslie