PRESIDENT MEGAWATI WANTS MURDER OF PAPUA LEADER SOLVED QUICKLY: OFFICIAL

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (February 14, 2002 - AFP/Kabar-Irian)---Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has urged officials to quickly find the killers of Papua separatist leader Theys Hiyo Eluay, Papua Governor Jaap Salossa said Thursday.

"The president wants this case to be quickly solved so that it can become clear," Salosa told palace reporters after meeting with Megawati.

Asked if he thought the government's work was slow, Salossa replied: "Yes. This case must be revealed as soon as possible because it's been almost three months since it took place."

Eluay was found murdered on November 11. He had been abducted the previous evening by an unidentified group as he drove home from a celebration hosted by the elite Kopassus military unit in the Papua provincial capital of Jayapura.

Army elements are widely suspected of having had a role in the murder.

Many people in Papua, including its police chief as well as Salossa and rights activists, have said there are indications that Kopassus special forces members had a role in the murder.

And army chief General Endriartono Sutarto has said witness testimony indicated the possible hand of Kopassus members.

But local police admitted after questioning at least seven Kopassus members that they had hit a dead end in their investigations.

A government-appointed team of five government officials -- including one each from the national police and the military -- and six civilians is investigating Eluay's death.

But two of the six civilians -- both Papua-born legislators -- have expressed their desire to quit the team.

A sporadic low-level armed struggle for independence began after the Dutch ceded control of the territory to Indonesia in 1963.

 

INDONESIAN ARMY VOWS TO COOPERATE WITH PAPUA LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

JAKARTA, Indonesia (February 14, 2002 - AFP/Kabar-Irian)---The powerful Indonesian army on Friday vowed to cooperate with any legal proceedings involving military personnel amid suspicions that troops are implicated in the murder of a Papua independence leader.

"We have a strong commitment to surrender anyone, a private or a four-star general, if they have clearly violated the law. They must be punished," army chief of staff General Endriartono Sutarto told a press conference.

Sutarto, who is expected to soon replace Admiral Widodo Adisucipto as the armed forces chief, said the army would not "intervene" in any legal process in which its personnel are involved.

"The TNI (Indonesian armed forces) is fully aware of the importance of upholding the law. Therefore it will always obey the law," he said.

Three army generals are among the 18 suspects facing trial over alleged gross human rights abuses in East Timor before and after a UN-sponsored referendum in 1999, which resulted in the territory's independence from Indonesia.

Sutarto has earlier admitted that soldiers may have been involved in the murder of Theys Hiyo Eluay, a charismatic independence leader, in the easternmost province of Papua.

Eluay was found murdered on November 11. He had been abducted the previous evening by an unidentified group as he drove home from a Heroes' Day celebration hosted by the Kopassus army unit in the provincial capital of Jayapura.

Eluay's driver escaped and reported the abduction, which he said was carried out by non-Papuan people. He has since disappeared.

A government-appointed team of five government officials -- including one each from the national police and the military -- and six civilians is investigating Eluay's death.

But two of the six members -- both Papua-born legislators – have expressed their desire to quit the team.

A sporadic low-level armed struggle for independence began after the Dutch ceded control of the territory to Indonesia in 1963.

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

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