24 Apr 2004

Police shoot dead two alleged rebels in Indonesia's Papua

8:38 am on 24 April 2004

Police have shot dead two men in a clash in Indonesia's Papua province, according to reports.

The pair were killed after police opened fire on a crowd of about thirty people in Meriedi village in the Manokwari area, detik.com news reports.

Police say Bernard Furima and Mateus Nasira were outlawed separatist rebels.

The crowd was armed with bows and arrows, attacked seven police officers, who had been bringing a sum of money to local tribes.

The sum of US$17,000 was intended as a compensation payment to tribes from a timber company.

Police spokesman Brigadier-General Sunarko says officers fired three warning shots in an effort to stop the attack.

He says warning shots were ignored so police opened fire on the crowd.

Police have detained three witnesses for questioning and are investigating whether robbery was the sole motive for the attack.