8 Jun 2002

Papuan leaders ask Jakarta to withdraw non-Papuan soldiersr

9:11 am on 8 June 2002

Leading Papuan figures are calling on the Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to declare the province a peace zone and pull out all troops recruited from outside the province.

The army has long been accused of committing gross human rights violations in the province, but the leaders say these have mostly been the fault of non-local military personnel.

A 20 person delegation from Papua, including religious and pro-independence leaders, has been meeting Indonesian Government officials in Jakarta to seek an explanation for the murder of the pro-independence leader Theys Eluay.

Papuans believe that the army was behind the killing.

After six months and three different enquiry teams set up by the Indonesian Government, the murder still remains a mystery.

The leaders have called for the details to be disclosed.

And they say that all land confiscated by state agencies and the military should be returned to local tribes.

The leaders also say Papua was peaceful until the military deployed troops there.