5 Aug 2004

Alleged Papua rebel leader Wamang apologises for killing US teachers

6:21 am on 5 August 2004

It is reported that an alleged rebel commander in the Indonesian province of Papua has publicly apologised for the killing of two US teachers.

Anthonius Wamang was speaking in an interview broadcast by Australia's ABC television.

Mr Wamang said he is prepared to take full responsibility.

However he says he is only prepared to give himself up to the US FBI, and wants to stand trial in the United States.

Mr Wamang, who is 32, admits staging the ambush near the Freeport mine in 2002, in which two American teachers and an Indonesian colleague died.

But he says he hit the wrong target, arguing that such vehicles were usually driven by the Indonesian military.

US authorities have charged Anthonius Wamang with the teachers' murder, describing him as a "terrorist".

On the other hand, Papua human rights activists have accused Mr Wamang of having links to the Indonesian military, and say he was operating without the authorisation of the separatist leadership.