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Hundreds of people flee Indonesian village in fear of police PAPUA - Hundreds of people have fled a village in Indonesia's restive Papua region following the deployment of more than 100 security officers, the Jakarta Post reported on Wednesday.

About 500 residents of Dagouto village in Paniai Regency have sought refuge following the deployment of 150 Mobile Brigade officers to their area. Paniai tribe council chief John Gobai, along with four other Paniai people, went to the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) to complain about the presence of police officers in the area, which they said "exacerbated the security situation."

"Our people have become refugees at Uwatawogi Hall in Enarotali, Paniai, for several weeks. They are now afraid they may not be able to celebrate Christmas at home," John told reporters, as quoted by the newspaper.

The NCHR's commissioner, Ridha Saleh, said his team would ask National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo for clarification for the deployment of police personnel to the Dagouto area. "The government has repeatedly pledged not to use a security approach to address issues in Papua. But this may have been empty rhetoric," Ridha said.

The National Police has increased its numbers of personnel in the regency following several deadly shootings, including the shooting deaths of separatists by police. However, citizens said the situation has returned to normal and that the presence of police personnel is unnecessary.

Violence has been escalating in Papua since the Third Papuan People's Congress was held in mid-October in Abepura, Jayapura. Six people were found dead following the gathering by pro-independence activists, which was dispersed by Indonesian security forces who fired warning shots and tear gas.

On Monday, a police officer died at a hospital after being injured last week in an attack by suspected separatist rebels in Jayapura, the capital of Papua. His death came after two members of the police were shot and killed on Saturday when assailants opened fire on a police patrol in the Puncak Jaya highlands of central Papua.

Violence has plagued Papua since 1969, when Indonesia took over control of the region from the Dutch, ignoring Papuan demands for political sovereignty. Jakarta granted the region special autonomy in 2001, but this failed to quell widespread separatist sentiments.



Posted in General @ 07 December 2011 22:10 CET by Blog Bot · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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