24 Feb 2003

Papuan activists say plans to split the Indonesian province will lead to more violence

10:42 am on 24 February 2003

A Papuan human rights organisation, Elsham, and the Australian West Papua Association have warned the current tensions in the Indonesian province will lead to an increase in violence.

A spokesman for Elsham, John Rumbiak, says the presidential instruction to divide the province in three has already seen pro and anti demonstrations throughout the area.

Mr Rumbiak says the plan, which goes against a special autonomy law for the province, will see greater conflict among Papuans and will lead to Indonesian military expansion.

He says the tensions over the proposed division are being exacerbated by incoming numbers of the fundamentalist Islamic movement, Lakshar Jihad.

A suspected Pakistani national is reported to have been arrested late last week and found to be carrying ten explosive devices