16 Sep 2002

Brussels group warns violence could escalate in Papua

4:31 pm on 16 September 2002

A Brussels based think tank, the International Crisis Group, says violence could escalate quickly in Indonesia's Papua province if the military use the killing of two Americans as the pretext for a crackdown on pro-independence activists.

The Americans, and an Indonesian, were shot near the Freeport mine two weeks ago.

The army has blamed separatist elements of the Free Papua Movement for the attack, but there are indications that the military may have orchestrated the killings.

The International Crisis Group says donor governments should make clear to Jakarta that criminal behaviour by the military could erode international support for Indonesian rule over Papua.