27 Aug 2003

Fear of more violence in Indonesia's Papua province

9:38 am on 27 August 2003

One of the architects of special autonomy for the Indonesian province of Papua says widespread violence is possible over the controversial plan to split the province into three.

Academic Dr Agus Sumule says he hopes this doesn't happen but he says the illegal action by Jakarta is aimed at creating conflict.

Dr Sumule's comments come as clashes over the changes continue in Timika, the designated capital of the so-called Central Irian Jaya province.

The death toll after several days of violence is three, with dozens hurt.

Dr Sumule, who is in Manokwari, which will be the centre of West Irian Jaya province, says there has been no trouble there so far, but it could happen.

"There is no one of us really in Papua would like to see any violence like this but the possibility is there. If you ask the majority of Papuans at the moment most of them would say this so called Impress number one 2003 is nothing more but to create horizontal conflict among the people."

Dr Sumule says the establishment of the provinces is illegal because it does not comply with the autonomy law.