IRIAN JAYA REBEL SENDS ENVOYS TO MEET WITH INDONESIAN MILITARY

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JAKARTA, (September 1, 1998- AFP/Kabar Irian/Irian News)---A leader of the separatist rebel movement in Indonesia's easternmost province of Irian Jaya has sent envoys to talk with the military authorities there, a report said Tuesday.

Kostan Susim and Lego Tambuni, who said they were envoys sent by Papua Merdeka (Free Papua) movement leader Mathias Wenda, met Monday with the head of the Indonesian military command overseeing security in Irian Jaya, Major General Amir Sembiring, the state-run Antara news agency said.

The command's assistant on intelligence affairs, Colonel M. R. Saragih, said after the meeting that it was the first dialogue between the two sides since Sembiring offered to talk with the rebels last week.

Saragih did not elaborate on what had been discussed. "We were both only seeking inputs which will be reported to our leader at the Free Papua movement's headquarters in the Bewani Valley in Sandaun province, Papua New Guinea," Tambuni said according to Antara.

After the talks, the two envoys were accompanied by soldiers to Irian Jaya's land border with neighboring Papua New Guinea, the agency said.

The Free Papua movement has been fighting for an independent state in predominantly Melanesian Irian Jaya since the former Dutch Western New Guinea became an Indonesian province in 1963.

Wenda is one of the movement's leaders and the Indonesian military has in the past accused him of masterminding several kidnapping cases including the abduction of 26 scientists, including seven foreigners, in 1996.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") For assistance, please e-mail: help-bi@irja.org (auto-responder) or admin@irja.org World Wide Web: http://www.irja.org

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