2 Sep 2002

Papua Presidium condemns killings, calls for caution in ascribing blame

4:29 pm on 2 September 2002

The Papua Presidium Council, the leading independence advocate in the Indonesian province, has called on all parties not to jump to conclusions about who was behind the killing of three civilians near the Freeport mine on Saturday.

Those killed included two Americans.

Another fourteen people, including seven Americans, were wounded.

The Presidium in a statement says it condemns the brute inhuman action against civilians and has expressed its sorrow and regret, but it says an independent, credible, international team should investigate the killings.

The provincial police chief, Major General Simbolon, has accused a faction of the militant separatist group, the OPM, of the killings.

But the Presidium says in the 40 year struggle for independence the killing of foreign nationals has never been the policy of Papuans promoting their political aspirations.

And it says for the past two years the independence movement has been trying to resolve its differences with Jakarta through dialogue and non-violence.

It says it is trying to make the province a Zone of Peace, but accuses the Indonesian Government of continuing a policy of repression.