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JAYAPURA, Papua, Indonesia (August 1, 2002 - Laksamana.Net/Kabar-Irian)---Army Chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu has urged the people of Papua to help the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) quell separatism in the resource-rich province.

Ryacudu made the statement Thursday in an address read out at a ceremony by the province's military chief Major General Mahidin Simbolon.

The ceremony marked the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Trikora District Military Command, which oversees security in Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya).

Trikora chief Mahidin Simbolon, regarded as one of the Army's most experienced officers in covert operations, is accused of playing a key role in the formation of pro-Jakarta militia groups that went on a spree of murder, arson and looting in East Timor in the months surrounding the territory's 1999 vote for independence.

Human rights groups claim that Simbolon is now forming pro-Jakarta militias in Papua and warn that the military is preparing for a major crackdown on separatism in the remote province.

Rebels in Papua have been staging a low-level guerrilla war for independence since the Dutch ceded control of the territory to Indonesia in 1963.

Ryacudu said only a handful of people in Papua were seeking to rekindle support for the rebel movement, so TNI would work closely with locals to curb separatism.

He praised the Trikora command for maintaining stability in Papua and contributing to "development" of the province.

Among those attending Thursday's ceremony were Papua Governor Jaap Salossa.

Rights groups say the Indonesian military has killed thousands of civilians in Papua since the 1960s.



JAKARTA, Indonesia (August 1, 2002 – Jakarta Post/Kabar-Irian)---The trials of 10 members of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) over last year's murder of a leading Papuan separatist leader will begin this month, Chief of the Military Police Maj. Gen. Sulaiman A.B. said on Thursday.

Sulaiman said the trials for the murder of Theys Hiyo Eluay were originally planned for July but they had to be delayed because investigators found new suspects to the murder case, Antara reported.

He declined to identify the 10 suspects but said they would be tried in three separate tribunals, with the trial for the higher-ranking officers in Surabaya, and for the low ranking officers in Jayapura and Jakarta.

Theys was chairman of the Papua Presidium Board, which coordinated the move to seek independence from Jakarta. He was founded dead on Nov. 11, 2001 inside his car, a day after attending a National Heroes Day commemorations at the Kopassus compound in Hammadi, Jayapura.

His driver, Aristoteles Masoka, has been missing since he reported the incident to the Kopassus.



By Ali Kotarumalos Associated Press Writer

JAKARTA, Indonesia (August 1, 2002 – AP/Kabar-Irian)---The Indonesian military is planning to charge 10 detained soldiers in a military tribunal later this month over the death of a Papuan independence leader, an official said Thursday.

Separatist leader Theys Hiyo Eluay died in November after attending a dinner with military officials in Jayapura, the Papuan capital.

Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Ahmad Basir, chief of the military police, refused to say what charges the soldiers would face over the alleged killing that has increased tensions in the province.

"We are preparing the dossiers so that they can be brought to military tribunal this month," Sulaiman said. A date had not yet been set.

Four middle-ranking officers will be tried in a military court in Surabaya, the East Java capital. The other six, lower-ranking soldiers will be tried either in Jakarta or Jayapura military courts.

Earlier this week, military police arrested the soldier allegedly directly responsible for killing Eluay. Police said Lt. Col. Hartomo, who is being detained in Jakarta, had questioned Eluay when driving him home from the dinner with military officials.

Hartomo -- at the time commander of the local unit of the army's elite Kopassus force -- said Eluay died of a heart attack while being questioned.

Eluay's supporters and human rights activists insist he was murdered. Police said Eluay was kidnapped by unidentified men. An autopsy report said he had been strangled.

Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, is a former Dutch colony on the western half of New Guinea.

Indonesia annexed Papua, also known as Irian Jaya, in 1963. The annexation sparked an independence fight that has recently picked up steam. But Eluay was not a member of the rebel Free Papua Movement. He, instead, advocated peaceful dialogue.

Papua, 3,680 kilometers (2,300 miles) east of Jakarta, is home to huge mineral and petroleum resources.

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