24 Jan 2007

Indonesia says reports of military build up in Papua are wrong

3:15 pm on 24 January 2007

Indonesia is calling reports of an Indonesian military build-up in its Papua province a campaign of misinformation.

There are fresh reports from human rights and Papuan church groups that thousands of people were driven out of their villages in Papua's central highlands area near Puncak Jaya by Indonesian army forces.

They say the operation is carried out in response to the killing of two military personnel.

But an Indonesian embassy spokesperson in Canberra, Dino Kusnadi, says there is no military build up.

Mr Kusnadi says extra police from other Papuan provinces were sent to the area to enforce law and order.

"It is not to intimidate the local people, it is not to terrorise them. It is simply not their responsibility to do so. There are perpetrators who were involved in the killings in early December and they are there to uphold law and order. These people are hiding among the local people, they are also intimidating these people, so the police is there to protect them"

Indonesian embassy spokesperson in Canberra, Dino Kusnadi.