23 Jan 2009

Indonesia President's briefly visits West Papua amid tight security

4:09 pm on 23 January 2009

A brief visit by Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to the capital of West Papua province has been carried out amid heavy security.

Human rights advocates TAPOL have reported that Mr Yudhoyono's itinerary in Manokwari was devoted solely to meeting officials without including opportunities for the Papuan people to meet him.

The day before the President's visit, an estimated 2,500 Indonesian troops were deployed to Manokwari from other parts of the region.

Surrounded by heavily-armed security forces, the President's visit was to deliver 14 million US dollars in financial aid under the National Self-reliant Community Empowerment Programme to the province.

He also visited Sorong where he inspected a joint post command set up by Disaster Management Coordination Unit for emergency response following a series of powerful earthquakes which jolted the district early this month.