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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 18) - The chief of
police in the Indonesian province of Papua said more than 60 members of a rebel
separatist group have sought surrender to local authorities.

The official Antara newsagency quotes Papua Police Chief
Inspector, General Budi Utomo, as saying the members of the separatist Free
Papua Organization have contacted police expressing a wish to return to the
Indonesian republic.

It said another rebel group has expressed similar intentions.

Both requests came during ceremonies to mark the 58th Indonesian
Independence Day.

The Governor of Papua, Ja'ap Salossa, said he welcomes the
return of the guerrillas.

The AFP news agency said the poorly armed and disorganized OPM
has waged a sporadic low-level armed revolt in the province since 1963.

Meanwhile, at least seven civilians have been injured after a
homemade bomb exploded in the town of Lhokseumawe in Indonesia's war-ravaged
Aceh province.

Antara said the device exploded near a sports field, which had
earlier been used for an official ceremony attended by thousands of people to
mark Independence Day.

It quotes the local military as blaming the separatist Free Aceh
Movement for the blast.

August 19, 2003

Radio Australia: 


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