2 Jun 2009

Papua air strip occupation enters third week

7:11 pm on 2 June 2009

In Indonesia's Papua police are still trying to negotiate an end to the occupation of an airfield at Kasepo in Mambramo Raya district, which is about 300 kilometres from Jayapura.

A group of suspected members of the Free Papua Movement, or OPM, are reported to have occupied the isolated airstrip since mid May.

Soon after police sent in three units of its anti-terror squad but so far they have refrained from launching a raid on the group.

The Jakarta Globe reports a police spokesman, General Abubakar Nataprawira, as saying they do not want bloodshed because police understand that most of the people involved do not understand what is happening.

He says Papuan separatists are using local young residents as human shields.

General Nataprawira says only three people in the group are separatists, but they are forcing the local people to occupy the airstrip.