Two killed, four wounded in fresh violence in Indonesia's Papua
Two bodies were taken to the general hospital in the town of Timika early Monday and four people with stab wounds were admitted Sunday night, said hospital director Himawan Sasongko.
He said one of the four was critically injured.
"They (victims) were all non-natives and the assailants remain unknown," said Jopi Kilangin, an activist with the Amungme Tribal Council.
Migrants to Papua from elsewhere in Indonesia are among the supporters of the plan to create a new province of Central Irian Jaya. Hundreds of Amunge tribesmen armed with bows and arrows and spears are among the opponents.
Kilangin said the bodies were found early Monday in Kwamki Lama, a stronghold of the opponents. "But do not quickly jump to conclusions that these people were attacked by people against the new province," he told AFP.
He said some 300 supporters of the new province had gathered Monday morning and police were on alert.
Police, who rushed some 200 reinforcements to the town last week, called for restraint. They said the latest violence was not linked to last week's battles but admitted they do not know who the attackers are.
Provincial police spokesman Daud Sihombing told ElShinta radio the latest bloodshed was "mere separated incidents of crimes that are unrelated to the incidents of the past days."
Sihombing said the two sides are due to hold a tribal peace ceremony on Wednesday involving the slaughter of more than 100 pigs.
Four people were killed last week in several days of clashes following the declaration of the new province by local legislative and administrative leaders on August 23.
The bloodshed prompted the government to shelve the plan to split the resource-rich territory of some 411,000 square kilometers (158,700 square miles).
The government says the aim is to improve administration in the wild and mountainous territory, which has a population of about three million.
Opponents say the real aim is to lessen support for a long-running separatist movement. They say the division violates the grant of special autonomy to the resource-rich province which went into effect in January 2002.
Tribal representatives say they fear an influx of outsiders to help run the new province will marginalise them like Australia's Aborigines.
The Els-Ham human rights group accused an unspecified "third force" of involvement in the latest killings to subvert efforts by local tribesmen to make peace after deadly clashes among themselves last week.
Alberth Rumbekwan, who has spent the past week in Timika investigating for Els-Ham, told AFP he fears Papua could turn into another Maluku where thousands died in battles between Christians and Muslims in recent years.
Most Papuans are Christian while outsiders come from mainly Muslim areas of Indonesia.
Amungme and other community leaders were meeting at a Timika hotel to try to find a peaceful solution, Rumbekwan said.
Indonesia has faced a sporadic low-level armed separatist revolt, along with peaceful pressure for independence, since it took control of Papua in 1963 from Dutch colonialists.
bs/it/sm/pch AFP 010555 GMT 09 03
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 09/01/2003 01:57:59
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