29 Aug 2012

Claims in West Papua an Australian trained unit act as a death squad

6:43 am on 29 August 2012

There are reports an elite counter-terrorism unit trained and supplied by Australia is being accused of acting as a death squad in Indonesia's troubled West Papua region.

ABC online says the group, known as Detachment 88, receives training, supplies and extensive operational support from the Australian Federal Police.

But there is growing evidence the squad is involved in torture and extra-judicial killings as part of efforts by Indonesian authorities to crush the separatist movement in West Papua.

Two ABC reporters who went undercover in the province met with many who say an Australian Government-funded anti-terrorist team is waging a bloody campaign against activists.

In June, popular independence leader Mako Tabuni was gunned down as he fled from police on a quiet street in the Papuan capital.

Locals say the men who killed Mr Tabuni allegedly are part of Detachment 88.

And in December 2010, Detachment 88 are alleged to have killed militant Papuan activist Kelly Kwalik.

Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, says he does not know if the reports are true, but he says he has spoken with his Indonesian counterpart about the issue.

He says they think the best way of clarifying the situation is for an inquiry.