SOLDIERS KILL WOMAN IN PAPUA, ACTIVIST SAYS

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 22, 2002 - AFP/Kabar Irian)---Indonesian soldiers shot dead a woman in a dispute at a logging company in the easternmost province of Papua, a rights activist said Tuesday.

Members of the Kopassus special forces assigned to guard the logging firm opened fire during a dispute Monday with a local man, identified as Martinus Maware, at the company's office, Albert Rumbekwan of the Elsham human rights group said.

Maware was shot in the leg and rushed to a hospital.

A treasurer of the company, Lesi Iba, was shot in the mouth and died on the spot, Rumbekwan said.

The incident happened at Bongko, some 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of the provincial capital Jayapura.

Rumbekwan had no information on the cause of the dispute at the office of PT Wapoga Mutiara Timber.

He said that so far police had not begun any inquiry.

A policeman on duty in Jayapura said no report of the incident had been received.

Armed separatists have been active in the Bongko area.

Rebels killed five Kopassus members in the area in January 2001, causing the deployment of more troops there. Several civilians subsequently went missing or were found dead in the area.

Rumbekwan said security forces were restricting movements in the area with even local inhabitants needing passes. He said some 1,000 people from the area had fled to Jayapura in the last few months of last year.

A sporadic low-level armed struggle for independence began after the Dutch ceded control of the territory to Indonesia in 1963. The province was renamed Papua this month under an autonomy law designed to lessen pressure for independence.

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

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