18 Aug 2004

Two separatist rebels shot in Papua

7:55 pm on 18 August 2004

The Indonesian military says its troops have shot dead two separatist rebels in a remote jungle region in the province of Papua.

An army spokesman says Free Papua Movement guerillas ambushed five Indonesian soldiers in the province's central highlands on Tuesday.

The resulting gun battle lasted five hours.

The spokesman says soldiers had gone to investigate claims the rebels had set up a camp in the area, after local villagers tipped off the military about their presence.

The Free Papua Movement has been fighting a sporadic guerilla war in the province since 1963 when Indonesia annexed the former Dutch colony shortly after its independence