22 Nov 2002

Brisbane paper says publicity led to Papuan being freed

4:43 pm on 22 November 2002

An Australian newspaper says Indonesia's Kopassus forces freed a kidnapped Papuan tourist guide after his abduction became known.

Silas Yikwa was seized near Jayapura airport in early November when he was to take five Australian tourists trekking in the Papuan highlands.

Mr Yikwa says Kopassus had beaten and interrogated him reportedly because the tourists' visit was suspected to be politically motivated.

But the Courier Mail in Brisbane says once the kidnapping was known and the information was on Papuan websites efforts were made to free him.

Kopassus forces have been implicated in last year's kidnapping and assassination of the Papuan independence leader, Theys Eluay, but none of them has gone on trial.