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JAKARTA, Indonesia (Oct. 24, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Australian authorities have added Indonesia's province of Papua to a growing list of places Australians should avoid because of possible terrorist attacks, the Jakarta Post reported.

The Australian foreign ministry said new information had emerged indicating Australians faced threats in Papua, the Jakarta Post said.

Papua, known widely as West Papua, is a resource-rich province bordering independent Papua New Guinea.

Melanesian Papuans have been agitating for independence. Local church leaders have, meanwhile, said a growing number of Muslim militants have been arriving in the predominantly Christian province.

"Australians should avoid travel to Papua," the Australian foreign affairs ministry said in its latest travel advice as quoted by the AFP news agency.

"Australians there should exercise caution and monitor local developments that might affect their safety, especially in view of the heightened security situation following the recent incidents in the Freeport mine area."

This referred to an attack on mainly expatriate civilians on Aug. 31.

Gunmen using military-issue assault rifles killed three people, two of them American teachers.

The government has issued numerous security updates for Australians across Southeast Asia. This follows the car bombing by suspected Islamic militants, which killed more than 190 people - 94 of them believed to be Australian - on Bali on Oct. 12.

The foreign ministry reiterated in its latest update that Australians who are not on essential business should leave Indonesia, including Bali.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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