ARMY BEHIND PAPUAN LEADER THEYS’ DEATH

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By Don Greenlees

JAKARTA, Indonesia (February 1, 2002 – The Australian/Kabar-Irian)---Indonesian army chief Endriartono Sutarto confirmed for the first time yesterday that an internal inquiry into the death of Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay pointed to the involvement of army personnel.

Revealing the findings of a preliminary fact-finding mission, General Sutarto said a military police team would go to Papua to build a case for prosecution.

"I don't know when they will leave but I have a high commitment to helping solve the problem," he said. "And I will not hide if they find the involvement of some of our members."

The Australian reported on Monday that the leader of the fact-finding mission, Brigadier Sardan Marbun, commander of the army's intelligence centre, found evidence to support claims that members of the Kopassus unit in the provincial capital, Jayapura, were behind Eluay's murder.

Eluay was kidnapped on November 10 last year while returning home with his driver from a dinner to mark Indonesian Heroes Day at the Kopassus barracks in the Jayapura neighborhood of Hamadi.

The driver escaped but disappeared after being seen entering the Kopassus barracks again later that night. Eluay, who died from asphyxiation, was found dumped in his car the next morning.

Provincial police have collected witness accounts and evidence to support the presumption of Kopassus involvement.

Under pressure from human rights groups, foreign governments and Papuan leaders, President Megawati Sukarnoputri has appointed a national commission to carry out its own investigation.

The big mystery remains who ordered Eluay's killing and why. It is believed unlikely the Kopassus soldiers acted without orders from an influential source.

For additional reports from The Australian, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Australian.

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

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