MOB DESTROYS GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS IN IRIAN JAYA

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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (January 29, 2000 – Jakarta Post/Kabar Irian)---A mob destroyed three state buildings following a violent dispute in Fakfak, hundreds miles east of here, police said.

A state-owned radio office and two local administrative buildings in the port city were ransacked, in an incident which stemmed from a dispute between a local civilian security group and refugees from Seram Island, witnesses said.

Irian Jaya was renamed Papua in December by President Abdurrahman Wahid in a concession to its people, who refuse to accept the existing name, which they say was forced on them by Indonesian "colonialists."

The House of Representatives has yet to ratify the name change.

Witnesses said Friday's trouble flared up when refugees disembarking from a ship from Seram in strife-torn Maluku province became angry at having to show their ID cards and hit several men from a group of Papuans.

 

INDONESIAN STATE RADIO HALTS BROADCAST IN IRIAN JAYA TOWN AFTER RIOT

JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 29, 2000 – Joyo Indonesian News/AFP)---State-run Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) went off the air in the Irian Jaya town of Fakfak on Saturday after its office was ransacked in rioting the previous day, a staff member said.

"For the time being, RRI in Fakfak will not broadcast, in line with a directive issued by the director," an RRI employee said by telephone.

The employee, who identified himself only as Ridwan, said he did not know when broadcasts would resume but added that as long as there were no security guarantees, it would stay off the air.

The RRI office was attacked on Friday by hundreds of people who also laid waste the local offices of the state shipping company, PT Pelni, police said.

"The offices of the RRI and Pelni, including at the port, were damaged in the riot yesterday (Friday) but technically, they can still operate," Sergeant Sarmun of the Fakfak police said.

"The city has been calm and there was no report of violence or large gatherings of people," Sarmun said, adding shops were open for business.

He declined to say what had sparked the rioting in town on Friday.

The Detikcom online news service gave three different versions of the incident that sparked the rioting.

One version had it that some people from the Moluccan island of Seram were manhandled shortly after arrival by boat at the port of Fakfak by a private Irianese militia member checking the identity of newcomers.

Another said the attack on the RRI office followed leaflets calling for people not to apply for government jobs because no Irianese should work for a government other than their own in an independent Irian Jaya.

Yet another version said the RRI was attacked because it still used the term Irian Jaya and not Papua as had been agreed by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid while visiting the province on New Year's Day.

The new name of the province is yet to be adopted by the legislature.

Sarmun said no one had been arrested so far.

Calls for an independent West Papua state in Irian Jaya have been on the rise since the fall of president Suharto in May 1998.

Suharto's successor, B.J. Habibie, had been vague about the independence demand in Irian Jaya while Wahid, who took over in October, has flatly rejected any attempt at Irian Jaya breaking away.

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

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