29 Apr 2002

Papuan rights group fear Indonesian militias

9:55 am on 29 April 2002

A human rights group in Papua says it has documents to show that the Indonesian military has links with East Timor-style militias in Papua province.

The claim was made by Els-ham on the basis of a letter dated April the 8th.

The document signed by a military commander lists eighty people who are said to be farmers near the highland town of Wamena.

The list was described as demographic data after the military had earlier said the militia, known as Satgas Merah Putih, did not exist.

Elsham warned two years ago that the militia was active in Papua's Fakfak region.

In East Timor, militia terrorised locals in a bid to suppress separatism.

Indonesia has fought separatists in Papua for more than thirty years and has now granted the province limited autonomy.