18 Nov 2003

Indonesian military questions abuse allegations in Papua province

9:32 am on 18 November 2003

Indonesia's military commander in Papua is questioning a human rights investigation into allegations of killings and torture by troops and police.

Indonesia's Government funded National Commission on Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, said last week it would look into accusations the army killed seven people and tortured another 48 in Wamena between April and June this year.

Don Wiseman has more:

"The alleged killings followed a raid by Free Papua Movement, or OPM, separatists on an armoury in Wamena."

Three people died in the raid in which 29 guns were stolen.

Members of the army special forces have also been implicated in the raid.

The military says it is not prepared to be slandered and says it will take legal action against Komnas HAM if it fails to prove the allegations.

Papua's military commander, Major-General Nurdin Zainal, says Komnas HAM has reached the wrong conclusions and had not consulted the military.

The investigation comes two weeks after the killing of 10 people the army says belonged to the OPM.

Local human rights activists say the ten were murdered by the military to stop them talking to Komnas HAM about the Wamena raid.