26 Apr 2004

Human rights group says Papuans killed by police not separatists or robbers

8:39 pm on 26 April 2004

A human rights group in the Indonesian province of Papua has rejected police claims that five people shot dead last week were separatists who had ambushed police during a robbery.

Police had said a splinter group of the separatist Free Papua Movement had attacked them with bows and arrows.

Five were killed and two injured in the clash.

But the human rights group, Elsham, says the five were members of a religious sect who had got into an argument with police over the way millions of rupiah from a logging company were being distributed.

Elsham's Ronny Papilatu says their research shows the sect had no connection with any separatist group.