15 Jun 2012

Police confirm death of Papua pro-independence activist

9:06 am on 15 June 2012

Police have confirmed they shot dead a pro-independence activist in Indonesia's restive Papua province, sparking riots.

Yesterday there were reports that Mako Tabuni of the West Papua National Committee and several of his followers were shot as part of a security forces operation in Jayapura.

The national police spokesperson Muhammad Taufik says Mr Tabuni was shot in the town of Waena during a police raid.

He says Mr Tabuni was armed and didn't surrender when police asked him to.

The security minister Djoko Suyanto says people have burnt several motorcycles, cars and three houses in Waena.

He says four people have been arrested in the past two weeks over a spate of violence in the region, including the West Papua National Committee head Bukhtar Tabuni, who was released from prison last year.

Police say the group is suspected of organising protests in recent months that have left shops and public facilities in several Papuan cities badly vandalised, but the group has denied responsibility.