FINAL MISSION GOING TO PAPUA TO PROBE DEATH OF INDEPENDENCE LEADER THEYS

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (April 1, 2002 – Laksamana.net/Kabar-Irian)---The government will send a final mission to Papua to probe the murder of Theys Eluay, chairman of the pro-independence Papua Presidium.

Investigation team chief Koesparmono Irsan said the mission would include senior detective Engkesman Hillep, military police chief Jasri Marin and commission member, Zulkarnaen, former head of the Environmental Forum, Walhi.

Irsan said the commission has made "a lot of progress" with indications pointing to certain suspects, Detikcom reported.

Special forces (Kopassus) troops have been implicated in the murder but The Jakarta Post quoted commission member National Police Detective Corps commander Insp. Gen. Engkesman Hillep as saying, "We haven't heard of such information. We don't know anything about it. Who said it was from Kopassus? I haven't heard such a thing."

Military police have already dug up large areas of the Kopassus base in Jayapura, apparently with no results.

Koran Tempo said at least three soldiers had been detained in connection with the case, citing military spokesman Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin.

The report cited sources as saying those detained were a major, a captain and an enlisted soldier. No information was provided regarding to which unit the men belonged.

Theys was found murdered on November 11 after being abducted the night before soon after leaving a dinner with senior military officials. His driver, who telephoned the news that Theys had been abducted, has not been seen since.

Pro-independence activists say they have little faith in the government-appointed team.

A number of European ambassadors visited Jayapura on March 18, according to Kabar-Irian, investigating the province's special autonomy package and the human rights situation.

In New York, human rights activists, including representatives of West Papua's leading human rights organization, ELS-HAM, submitted a petition to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last week urging him to conduct an investigation into the United Nations' endorsement of a referendum held over 30 years ago authorizing Indonesia's take over of West Papua.

Meanwhile, the Forest Peoples Alliance, in a statement issued in Sorong, alleged that major hotels in the Bird's Head region of the province were full of logging business operators from Malaysia and China.

"Business is in full swing for the companies and government agents, but certainly not for the local village communities – the traditional owners of the rainforest," the NGO alleged in a report in which it claimed "scandalous destruction" of forests.

The Institution for the Cooperation of Christian Churches, also in Sorong, urged the government to stop the activities of the Laskar Jihad in the area, and confiscate propaganda materials such as leaflets, bulletins and VCDs of the Maluku conflict that it claimed could disturb religious harmony in Sorong.

The Institution also questioned the presence and purpose of a number of Pakistanis there.

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

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