31 Mar 2003

Explosives find in Indonesia's Papua province

11:37 am on 31 March 2003

An accidental discovery of an explosives cache in Indonesia's Papua province has led to fears of covert militia activity in the region.

The concerns have been raised by tribal leaders in the coastal town of Sorong, where police have arrested Muhamad Koya, a local businessman and Islamist politician.

Sorong's district police chief Faisal Abdul Nasir said Koya had been taken into custody and faces up to 20 years in jail for allegedly storing 12 home-made bombs in the warehouse of his cargo handling company.

The Australian Associated Press quotes police as saying the businessman told them that he stored the explosives for self protection.

His lawyer denied that he was involved with any extremist groups that have established a presence in Sorong and other coastal towns of Papua in recent years.