8 Aug 2011

Indonesian official advises tough response to Papua self determination calls

7:17 pm on 8 August 2011

The chairman of the Papua and Aceh special autonomy supervisory team in Indonesia has urged the government to send more military forces to Papua region if calls for self-determination grow.

Priyo Budi Santoso's comment comes after a series of demonstrations across Papua last week, when thousands of Papuans called for a referendum on self-determination.

Media reports from the region say that violence mainly in Puncak Jaya killed at least 21 people in the lead-up to the demonstrations.

Indonesian officials have blamed these attacks on the OPM Free Papua Movement while rights groups have blamed the security forces.

The Jakarta Post reports Mr Santoso has urged law enforcers to take firm action if the momentum among Papuans for a referendum escalates to a rebellion.

Urging the government to firmly reject calls for a referendum, he says that special autonomy remains the "best formula in addressing the problems of Papua".