FREE PAPUA REBEL ONDE BELIEVED DEAD

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (September 15, 2001 – Jakarta, Post/Kabar-Irian)---Free Papua Movement (OPM) rebel leader Willem Onde, who had been residing in Merauke regency of remote Irian Jaya province, is believe dead, reports said on Friday.

Antara news agency quoted sources as saying that items belonging to Onde, such as bloodstained sunglasses and cap, were found in the Merauke area of West Papua. But his body has not been located.

A day before Onde's sunglasses and cap were found, a male body was recovered from a local river, the Jakarta Post said. The body was later identified as Jhon Tumeng, who was Onde's adjutant, it said.

The victim was previously seen on Monday with Onde, with whom he visited the PT Korindo office in Asiki of Jair district in Merauke regency, the news agency reported. It said that Onde has not been seen since.

Onde was the rebel leader reportedly involved in the two-week abduction of 13 employees of South Korean's PT Korindo timber company based in the Asiki area in January.

Indonesia's Trikora Military Commander Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon said he had not heard any reports of Onde's disappearance. He said that previous reports claimed Onde had been in neighboring Papua New Guinea for the past couple of months.

"I have to check the report with the field first," the general said, responding to questions about Onde's disappearance.

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

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