16 Mar 2005

Indonesian military in Papua allegedly diverts funds from humanitarian cause

4:29 pm on 16 March 2005

A church leader in Papua says Indonesian troops have been using money set aside for aid to the province to attack rebels.

The President of the West Papua Baptist Church, the Reverend Socrataz Sofyan Yoman, says their inquiries have revealed the Indonesian military has been siphoning off money from the province's Special Autonomy Fund.

The fund, which includes money contributed by international donors, supports humanitarian projects.

The Reverend Yoman told Australia's SBS Dateline TV programme that the special autonomy funds are being used for military operations.

He says the military have made use of about 2.5 billion rupiah or more than a quarter of a million US dollars.

He says international donors to Indonesia should pressure Jakarta to investigate the corruption claims, as well as secure access for human rights officials to visit areas where recent military operations have occurred.