12 Apr 2006

Indonesia demands John Howard visit to explain grant of visas to Papuans

9:54 am on 12 April 2006

Indonesia is demanding that the Australian Prime Minister John Howard fly to Jakarta to explain why Australia granted visas to 42 Papuan separatists.

Yesterday's call by the Indonesian president's official spokesman came less than 24 hours after a Papuan mob allegedly used assault rifles as well as bows and arrows to attack an Indonesian military post near the border with Papua New Guinea.

The military says two members of the elite Kostrad strategic reserve were killed along with two of the attackers.

Meanwhile, five Indonesian battleships have taken up positions in the Arafura Sea.

They patrol the border with Australia, scrutinizing each passing boat.

In mid January 43 Papuans crossed the sea to seek asylum in Australia and there are reports hundreds more intend trying to leave the country by the same route.