SMUGGLED GUNS FOUND IN IRIAN JAYA

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 20, 2000 – Indonesian Observer/Kabar Irian)---Security forces in the easternmost province of Irian Jaya have found and confiscated about 100 assembled weapons in the districts of Sorong and Nabire, says a member of parliament.

Legislator Simon Patrice Morin, who is from Irian Jaya, yesterday said the onus is now on the government to find out who brought the weapons to the province, which is known locally as West Papua.

"We hope the government will launch an investigation into the smuggling and make it open to the public. I'm afraid there are irresponsible people who want to provoke riots in that peaceful area," Morin told the Observer at parliament in Jakarta.

He said that even though there have been increasing calls for independence in West Papua, the situation in the province is relatively stable because locals have agreed to maintain peace and order.

Morin did not specify the types of weapons found in West Papua, but said devices for assembling them had also been discovered.

"We hope the government will soon disclose the case. If the government doesn't disclose it and something terrible takes place, we will be too late. We are always too late in these sorts of cases," he added.

Human rights abuses

Commenting on the growing calls for independence, Morin said at least two crucial problems must be resolved if the government is to have any chance of mollifying the natives of West Papua.

First, he said, the historical basis of Indonesia's claim over West Papua must be re-examined; and second, human rights abuses that took place in the territory must be investigated.

Morin said the human rights abuses in West Papua were a logical consequence of Indonesia's claim over the territory.

He praised the recent decision of President Abdurrahman Wahid to allow Irian Jaya to call itself Papua, as the previous regimes took harsh action against those who used the term.

"Security forces used this restriction as an excuse to launch human rights abuses."

Morin said the government should accommodate the aspirations of all Papuans by holding more talks with people from the territory.

He said there is friction between the government and the people of Papua because each side sees things from a different perspective.

 

NATIONAL SHIPPING LINE STOPS SAILING TO IRIAN JAYA

JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 19, 2000Indonesian Observer/Kabar Irian/Antara)---The national shipping line, PT Pelni, has decided to halt its services to all ports in Irian Jaya because too many passengers vandalize the company’s vessels and refuse to pay for tickets.

Chaerul Dajaman, head of Pelni’s operations in Irian Jaya, said the company is losing money because of the errant passengers.

"At the ports in Serui, Biak, Sorong and Merauke, there were too many illegal passengers getting on board. And besides, they always damage so much equipment on the liners and throw the lifeboats into the sea," Dajaman was quoted as saying by Antara.

For example, he said, the vessel KM Umsini, on January 3, picked up about 600 passengers at Sorong and all refused to pay for tickets.

"It seems that locals must be taught that any economic activity costs money, and if people don’t want to pay then the company could collapse," said Dajaman.

He said the KM Umsini last month picked up Irianese refugees in Ambon, Maluku, and took them to Sorong and Jayapura. Most did not buy tickets but Pelni was willing to foot the bill in order to get the refugees away from the riot-stricken province.

Since then, word spread rapidly along Irian Jaya’s ports that Pelni was offering free travel, and many passengers began claiming they had no money for tickets.

Other passengers have been accused of attempting to dismantle valuable parts of the ships that can be resold.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") Website: http://www.irja.org/ 

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