19 Feb 2005

Military in Indonesia's Papua aiding in 'world's biggest illegal logging of single timber'

9:04 am on 19 February 2005

Environmental activists in Indonesia claim the military in Papua province is aiding in what they're calling the world's biggest illegal logging operation of a single timber.

The organisation Telepak says the trade in merbau timber is continuing despite Indonesian authorities banning exports of the wood four years ago.

The Telepak activist Arbi Valentinus says despite Indonesian authorities saying they're going to act, people haven't been brought to prosecution.

"Our investigation has found the biggest illegal smuggling of logs from Papua to China. The involvement of the military in the problem is very clear, including the army, the armed forces, the navy, and also the police in that area."

Mr Valentinus says logging companies have moved to Papua because they've depleted forests in the rest of Indonesia.

He says there's been an increase in the demand for merbau timber from China and India.