INDONESIA POLICE CHECK REPORTS ARMS SENT TO IRIAN JAYA

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JAKARTA Indonesia (July 3, 2000 – Reuters/Antara/Kabar Irian)---Indonesia police said on Monday they are investigating a report that 12,000 guns were smuggled into the rebellious province of Irian Jaya, the official news agency Antara reported.

Local media quoted the head of Indonesia's top legislative body, Amien Rais, as saying that sources told him weapons had been sent to the vast province.

Rais did not name his sources.

"Is there really smuggling of firearms on a large scale? We are still investigating the information," Antara quoted Irian Jaya police chief Brigadier-General S.Y. Wenas as saying.

A low-level separatist insurgency has simmered in Irian Jaya for decades. Indonesia fears pressure for independence in some provinces, particularly Irian Jaya and the staunchly Moslem Aceh, could lead to the country's disintegration.

Calls for independence have mounted since East Timor voted to break from Indonesian rule last year.

Last month, a congress of local leaders and activists declared Irian Jaya independent in a move that Jakarta dismissed as not representing the wishes of the population's majority.

Irian Jaya was incorporated into Indonesia in 1963, after heavy diplomatic pressure on the Netherlands, the country's former colonial ruler. In 1969, a U.N.-run plebiscite was held among local leaders, which resulted in a vote to join Indonesia.

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

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