26 Nov 2013

West Papua pro-independence group claims members have been arrested

12:55 pm on 26 November 2013

The West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, says 16 of its members have been arrested for handing out leaflets, but the Indonesian police deny the report.

The group says its members were distributing leaflets on Monday, with details about meetings in Port Moresby and encouraging foreign ministers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to visit Jakarta and Papua.

A spokesperson for the group says they were taken to the police station at Jayapura and all the leaflets were confiscated.

The Jayapura Police Chief, Alfred Papare, has denied any arrests of the 16 members of the KNPB.

The group, established in 2008, has been campaigning for a referendum on independence for the West Papua province of Indonesia.

It's leaders Buchtar Tabuni and Victor Yeimo are currently in prison and the former vice-president Mako Tabuni was killed by Indonesian anti-terrorist troops in 2012.