19 Mar 2005

Indonesia to send up to 15,000 fresh troops to province of Papua

8:37 am on 19 March 2005

The Indonesian military plans to send up to 15,000 new troops to keep order in the troubled province of Papua.

An army spokesman says the troops will be stationed in the province in stages during the next four years.

The spokesman says about 6,000 soldiers would be sent this year, more than doubling the number currently serving in the province.

Papua has been the scene of a sporadic guerilla rebellion since 1963 when Indonesia took control of the former Dutch colony.

Activists say the Indonesian military continues to carry out human rights abuses in the territory.