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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya, Indonesia (March 29, 2000 – Jakarta Post/Kabar Irian)---Thousands of primary-age school children have stopped attending classes because their teachers have quit in the face of intimidation from West Papuan separatist rebels.

The head of the Ministry of National Education Office in the Jayawijaya regency, G.W. de Fretes, said on Tuesday that school activity has been turned upside down.

Many high school students have also stopped going to schools, preferring to join the "Papuan Task Force" which is seeking independence for the province, de Fretes said.

"Non-Papuan teachers at six junior and senior high schools in remote districts of Bokodini, Tiom, Kurima and Karubaga have fled to Wamena with their families because of continuous threats from the pro-independence movement," de Fretes said.

"In Kurima dozens of elementary schools have practically closed after all the teachers quit," he said.

Principals of schools in these areas have proposed that students take their exams in Wamena, which could be reached only by plane from Jayawijaya.



JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya, Indonesia (March 29, 2000 – Jakarta Post)---More than 260 settlers have abandoned their government-funded transmigration camps in Bonggo, Jayapura regency, because of food shortages, an official said on Monday.

Jan Pali, the head of the Transmigration Minister Office in Jayapura, said those who left were mostly transmigrants at the resettlement units VII and VIII who came from East Nusa Tenggara, West Java and Jakarta.

Settlers said that because of the absence of drainage systems, their homes were continually inundated by water and they could not plant anything on their land.

Sukiman, one of the settlers, said they were heading towards Jayapura. "We shall not return," he said.

"We are victims of bad government policy. The government must send us home or transfer us to better locations."

The settlers have sold their property, including cattle, which were given to them by the government.

Police arrested four of the settlers when they were caught trying to sell property that belonged to the state.



JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (March 28, 2000 – Antara/Kabar Irian)---Nabire District’s Traditional Consultation Board will only agree to lower the "Morning Star" flag once the killing of three people by security personnel has been investigated, its deputy chairman has said.

"I will be responsible for the lowering of the flag, which has been raised since last December 1, once the human rights violation in Nabire has been investigated to the very bottom," Sobinus Kobogauw said.

In an attempt to lower the Morning Star flag last February, three Papuan Task Force officials were shot dead while 10 others, including three police officers, sustained severe injuries.

According to Kobogauw, a joint team composed of local legislators, police officers, public figures, youths and students, has looked into the human rights violation but their findings have not been followed up.

The Papuan Task Force and the local community, he said, are prepared to lower the Morning Star flag in Nabire provided the perpetrators of the killings are punished accordingly.

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

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