8,000 REFUGEES FACE HUNGER AFTER IRIAN JAYA RIOTS

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (October 16, 2000 – The Jakarta Post/Kabar-Irian)---Some 8,000 refugees from the Wamena disturbances who are sheltering in nearby military and police posts in Jayawijaya regency are living in squalid conditions and facing hunger and a lack of medical supplies.

"The Irian Jaya Social Welfare Agency must speed up the process of aid distribution to save the people," deputy head of the National Social Welfare Board (BKSN) Sri Rahmadi told the Antara news agency on Sunday.

"I think that we still have between 250 tons and 500 tons of rice and some of it can be sent there."

Rahmadi added that further coordination with local authorities is needed due to the difficult terrain of the remote area.

Most refugees are migrant settlers who lived in nearby villages.

At least 30 people were killed and 45 others injured as thousands of pro-independence Papuan task force members ran amok in Wamena on October 6 following the pulling down of Morning Star separatist flags by the police.

Thousands have since fled their homes, fearing renewed attacks.

Dozens of houses were either burned or looted.

Wamena, located about 290 kilometers (174 miles) southwest of the provincial capital, Jayapura, is reportedly still paralyzed following the bloody disturbances.

Schools, businesses and government activities are all still on hold as of the weekend, pending further improvements in the situation.

"People are still terrified and many are traumatized over the incident," the provincial Logistics Depot (Dolog) chief, Hasan Amlati, said as quoted by the news agency on Saturday.

The threat of renewed clashes remains as the Papuan Presidium Council (PDP) chief Theys Hiyo Eluay has reportedly vowed to defy the government's ban on the flying of the separatist flag in the province.

"The flags are still flying at two locations in Jayapura, namely Theys' house at Sentani and a location in the Taman Imbi area," Sr. Supt. M. Kusnadi, chief of Irian Jaya's police operation and control unit, said on Sunday.

A group of Papuan task force members were seen guarding Theys' house on Sunday.

Kusnadi said PDP executives in Jayapura have refused to lower the flags as "they insist on sticking to the previous agreement with the police to only pull down the flag after October 19."

"We are keeping an eye on the situation as we don't want any clashes triggered by the task force to erupt," the officer said.

No PDP executives could be reached for comment on Sunday.

Kusnadi said the PDP and local authorities are slated to meet for further discussions on the situation on Monday.

Earlier on Saturday, Governor Busiran Darmosuwito, Trikora Military chief Maj. Gen. Albert Inkiriwang and Irian Jaya Police chief Brig. Gen. S.Y. Wenas visited riot victims in Wamena General Hospital.

"The Indonesian Military (TNI) has sent a Hercules plane to drop food, medical assistance and materials to reconstruct the villages damaged in the riots," Albert said.

The two victims with the most serious injuries, namely Sumiyati, who lost her left hand, and her son, Putra Abdul Hafid, 10, who is still in a coma, will be immediately flown to Jakarta for further treatment.

Jayawijaya Police chief Supt. D. Surapatty said police had arrested the man, identified only as a member of the staff at Wamena General Hospital, who is allegedly responsible for attacking the two.

Police seized Rp 3.9 million (US$ 437.22) in cash and a wallet belonging to Sumiyati from the suspect.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News")

Websites: http://www.irja.org/index2.shtml and http://www.kabar-irian.com 

 

PAPUANS PROTEST VIOLENCE IN INDONESIAN PROVINCE

JAKARTA, Indonesia (October 16, 2000 – Radio Australia)---An estimated 100 people from Indonesia's remote province of West Papua have protested outside the vice presidential palace in Jakarta.

The protestors blamed Indonesia's military for the recent violence in their homeland, saying the military had triggered separatist sentiment in the province.

They also called on Indonesia's Vice President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, to help defuse the situation in West Papua.

Tensions have escalated since 30 people, mostly migrant settlers from other parts of Indonesian, were killed in clashes earlier this month.

On October 6th, bloody clashes broke out in the province's hinterland town of Wamena between Indonesian security personnel and members of the pro-independence Papua Taskforce after police took down separatist Morning Star flags.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

 

FREEPORT MINING DENIES SUPPORTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WEST PAPUAN STATE

JAKARTA, Indonesia (October 13, 2000 - Moneter Indonesia)---Freeport has denied reports that the company lobbied the U.S. to support the establishment of a West Papuan state, and that it will move its head office from Jakarta to Irian Jaya.

The statement was made by Freeport Corporate Communications Senior Manager Sidarta to Moneter Indonesia in Jakarta yesterday in response to a statement by a Commission VIII DPR member, Ramson Siagian, who presumed that Freeport had lobbied U.S. political decision makers to support the establishment of a West Papuan state, and thus, would move its head office from Jakarta to Irian Jaya.

According to Sidarta, Freeport had no interest in involving the company in domestic politics.

"Our orientation and interest are business and not politics. Therefore, because we are business-oriented, it is certainly impossible for us to play politics, much more lobbying U.S. politicians. So, the news is not true," he said, annoyed.

He said that Freeport has three offices in Indonesia, in Timika, Jayapura and Jakarta, adding that as the law on regional autonomy is enacted, the company will conduct more activities in the region.

"However, Freeport will not necessarily move its head office from Jakarta to Irian Jaya. Freeport is only a contractor of the Indonesian government. As a trusted government contractor, it is certainly impossible for us to conduct activities which are contradicting the government’s policies, much more involving ourselves in Indonesian politics," he said.

Meanwhile, a Parliament member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (F-PDIP) faction, Lukas Karel Degey, also denied allegation that Freeport lobbied the U.S. to support West Papua independence.

"As a company, Freeport works to make money. And in order to secure its investment, Freeport certainly refrains itself from involvement in a political game which is contradicting the Indonesian government’s policies.

"If Freeport is involved, it can be expelled or the government may terminate its contract. So, the presumption of Freeport s involvement is unacceptable by common sense. Only mentally disturbed persons could make such a presumption," he said.

When asked whether Freeport had been providing financial aid for political activities, including the second Papuan People s Congress, Lukas replied,

"That is exactly what the Free Papua Presidium was trying to avoid."

"The congress was purely funded by the West Papuan people. The organizers had much money. Apart from the funds they had, the West Papuan people did not want to be aided by companies operating in the area, including Freeport.

"And Freeport had no intention whatsoever to aid the congress because it realized that if the company is involved, although in a petty donation, it faces a very large risk," he explained.

Lukas suspected the allegation that Freeport’s head office was to be moved from Jakarta to Irian Jaya, had political overtones, including searching for a scapegoat and releasing one s responsibility from the root of the problems that have occurred for decades in Irian Jaya.

He said that the root of the problems is unjust practices committed by evil government officials during the New Order era, who emptied the natural riches of Irian Jaya.

Lukas confirmed that politicians, including legislators, should no longer have a New Order mentality in responding to the issue of injustice in the regions, including in Irian Jaya.

"What the legislature must do, including the government, is to enact as quickly as possible the Law on Regional Autonomy in West Papua. Only by putting such a law into effect, would the development truly be people-oriented, and incidents like the one in Wamena and political movements to establish a West Papuan state would no longer occur.

"Those are what the politicians should fight for instead of avoiding the issues by pointing fingers at foreigners, including Freeport," he said, annoyed.

He explained that the allegation that foreigners are involved in separatism will only create new problems. "By giving such accusation, the West Papuan people will be much more hurt and therefore. It will only strengthen their political movement to separate from the unitary Republic of Indonesia.

"Therefore, I appeal to all legislative members, the government and security forces to stop making statements which could hurt the feelings and provoke anger from West Papuans," he said.

"The world, including the U.S.," Lukas said, has given their support to the unitary form of the Indonesian Republic.

"Therefore, the government and the legislature must use the trust given by the world to make a constructive approach, taking the people’s side in solving the problems in West Papua.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Websites: http://www.irja.org/index2.shtml and http://www.kabar-irian.com 

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