5 Sep 2012

Kopassus officer plays down reports of growing violence in Papua

4:21 am on 5 September 2012

An officer with the Indonesian special forces unit, Kopassus, in Papua has played down reports of growing violence in the eastern region.

In recent months, there's been a series of killings in both urban and rural parts of Papua province.

While police attribute many of the shootings to "unidentified gunmen", security forces have increased efforts to capture Free Papua Movement, or OPM, separatists.

Police also recently killed leading Papuan pro-independence activist Mako Tabuni.

However a Kopassus vice-commander, who wishes to remain nameless, says Papua is harmonious.

"I like Papua, its beautiful view and people. It's beautiful here. I love everything, the people, everything, I love it. People of Papua, peaceful. Everything is normal to us in Papua, it's normal."

Police in Jayapura have confirmed the arrest of 22 OPM members at the weekend, including leader Daniel Kogoya.