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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 8, 2000 - Post-Courier/Radio Australia/PINA Nius Online)---Police in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya fired shots in the air and detained dozens of students hours after pro-independence supporters attacked a police station with machetes, axes and arrows, Radio Australia reported.

Two police officers and a private security guard were killed in the attack on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Jayapura.

It came amidst growing clashes between Indonesian security forces and pro-independence Papuans and the continuing Indonesian detention of Papuan leaders.

Jayapura's police chief said three of the attackers died at the hand of police, one of them during the attack, and two during the search for them.

John Rumbiak, who heads the Jayapura-based Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy, said police raided several dormitories near the university.

He says shots were fired into the air as officers broke into the buildings.

Nearly 100 Papuan students were taken to several police stations for questioning.

Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier reported that Acting Brigadier General Carl Marlpo, of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force, will travel to Western Province this weekend to confirm reports people have crossed into Papua New Guinea from Irian Jaya (West Papua).

General Marlpo said reports from Kiunga and Daru strongly suggested that about 100 people had moved into Papua New Guinea's side of the border.

He said he would travel to the area to assess the situation and convey various National Executive Council decisions to authorities in the area.

General Marlpo said his earlier visit to Vanimo and further intelligence reports up until yesterday stated that no Indonesian soldiers had crossed the border into Papua New Guinea.

However, he said the Indonesia Consul General had confirmed that there was a build up of troops in Jayapura to contain the situation on their side of the border.

General Marlpo said the deployment of a combined force of Defense Force soldiers and police along Papua New Guinea¹s side of the border would depend heavily on funding.

He said the deployment of troops in the area, the cost of fuel and hire of aircraft for a full-scale operation would cost about K 1.5 million (US$ 508,500).

General Marlpo said the border between the two countries is still open despite a decision last week to have it closed.

He said people at Wutung had raised concern that they were not allowed to go to their gardens or go fishing because OPM West Papua freedom fighters had stopped them from doing so.

He said a meeting with one of the OPM commanders, Mathias Waenda, had provided assurances that people would be allowed to move freely.

General Marlpo said the status of the 60 women and children who moved into Papua New Guinea from Irian Jaya last Wednesday has not yet been fully established.

General Marlpo said 40 more families, without their fathers, had tried to gain entry into Papua New Guinea but were refused.

He said he could not establish from these women and children specifically why they wanted to cross the border.

General Marlpo said they could not be recognized as refugees as it was believed there was no fighting on the Indonesia side of the border.

Meantime, in Vanimo, a Papua New Guinea government border liaison officer denied reports that there were Indonesian soldiers on the PNG side of the border in pursuit of West Papuan freedom fighters.

He also urged members of Parliament to use government officers stationed on the border to get first hand information before they came out publicly and made statements that involved the country’s national security.

"This issue is very sensitive as it involves the national security of our country and therefore politicians should not say things without confirming their facts first," said the officer, who asked to remain anonymous. He said in that way, the people were presented with facts on the issue and not fooled into believing something that was not true.

These reports, however, conflict with other interviews that Post-Courier had with other government officers in the province who said there were Indonesian soldiers at Wutung.

In a telephone interview with the Post-Courier a government officer said 200 people had crossed illegally over the border in fear of an anticipated upsurge in violence on December 1. He denied that there were any conflicts at the border.

He said: "There are soldiers who patrol the border as part of their normal operations, but there aren’t any soldiers who have been deployed there to chase the people, let alone harass them."

He also denied claims that villages had been burned.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 



JAKARTA, Indonesia (December 8, 2000 – Radio Australia)---President Abdurrahman Wahid has accepted an invitation to visit Irian Jaya on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The request for a visit by Mr. Wahid came from church groups in the province.

President Wahid visited West Papua last December when he promised to rename the province from it's Indonesian name of Irian Jaya to West Papua, and allowed the flying of the independence symbol, the Morning Star flag.

But police pulled down the Morning Star flag on December 1, a key commemoration date for Papuan independence activists, and the provincial name change has not been formally implemented.

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

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