28 Aug 2003

Indonesia delays plans to split Papua province into three units

10:19 am on 28 August 2003

The Indonesian government says it has decided to shelve plans to split Papua province into three after three days of street clashes in Timika, left three people dead and up to 50 injured.

The government's senior security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told reporters that the plan had not been shelved completely but would be on hold while the government reassessed economic and social-cultural factors before deciding whether to go ahead with the division.

The government says the purpose of dividing the existing province into three is to improve administration in the territory but opponents say the real aim is to lessen support for a long-running separatist movement.

They say it violates the grant of special autonomy to the province which went into effect in 2001.