22 Feb 2013

Fears over response from Indonesia's military to Papua killings

2:33 pm on 22 February 2013

A member of a group tasked with negotiating with Indonesia on behalf of West Papuans, says he fears that security forces will mount a brutal response to the killings of soldiers in Papua.

Eight Indonesian soldiers are now reported to have died in two separate attacks yesterday in Puncak Jaya.

A military spokesperson has blamed the military arm of the Free West Papua Movement.

The US-based Octo Mote, who is part of a five-member group of exiled West Papuans promoting dialogue with Jakarta, says there is no guarantee that Indonesia's military hasn't engineered the killings.

He says Indonesia has been trying to portray Papuan ethno-separatists as terrorists to gain international backing for the operations of its security forces in Papua.

"What I'm very worried about here is the brutality that the military will do. And they will support it by foreign governments because the language they are using is 'we are at war with terrorists'."

Octo Mote says ongoing violence in Papua region threatens to derail peaceful efforts for resolution.