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JAKARTA, Indonesia (December 29, 2001 – Jakarta Post/Joyo Indonesian News/TAPOL)---The Trikora Military commander overseeing Irian Jaya province, Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon, reiterated here on Saturday that the military had not ordered the assassination of pro-independence Papua Presidium Council chairman Theys Hiyo Eluay.

"All army units posted in the Trikora military command are loyal to me as their commander," Simbolon said, as quoted by Antara on the sidelines of a commemoration of national hero Hari Juang Bakti Kartika 2001 at Parkir Timur Senayan in South Jakarta.

The police, he said, were questioning seven army personnel in connection with the murder and the military had allowed the police to quiz any personnel considered key witnesses in the case.

"As of now, seven military personnel have been questioned as witnesses. We regularly receive reports from Irian Jaya Police on witnesses, legal facts and other findings, so that any confusion or speculation on the army's involvement in Theys' death can soon be cleared," Simbolon said.

He further reiterated that the military had helped the police to find evidence and witnesses.

A team of investigators arrived in Irian Jaya on Friday.

Rebel Papuan leader Theys was found dead in early November after he had been reportedly kidnapped by an unidentified group on his way home from a national heroes ceremony at the local military headquarters.

Meanwhile, the military police have also expressed their readiness to help the police to investigate Theys' murder.

"Last week we received a request from the police, and so far there is no reluctance (to help the police). We will join with the national commission of investigation," the Commander of the Military Police, Maj. Gen. Djasri Marin, said.

Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 01420 80153 Email:  Internet: 

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