TRIKORA MILITARY COMMAND DEPLOYS THREE BATTALIONS TO GUARD IRIAN JAYA-PNG

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BORDER

JAKARTA, Indonesia (April 21, 2001 – The Jakarta Post/Kabar-Irian)---The Trikora Military Command overseeing Irian Jaya province has deployed three military battalions to safeguard the border of Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG), official said Saturday.

Trikora military commander Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon said that the three battalions are coming from outside Irian Jaya and are being dispatched as part of the ongoing 'Security Border Operation.'

"Actually, the number of troops dispatched along the border is very small as the coverage area stretches about 740 kilometers (444 miles), passing through the three regencies of Jayapura, Jayawijaya and Merauke," General Mahidin said after installing the new commander, Col. Bambang Sumarno. He replaces Col. Ginting Munthe.

The troops are assigned to guard and monitor the restive areas and villages in a bid to curb possible violence along the border.

On the separatist rebel movement, the general said that "their numbers are relatively small" but they still have the potential to engage in serious dispute.

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

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