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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Papua violence continues
Clashes in Papua
There have been clashes in Papua since the weekend

A fourth person has died as a result of unrest in Indonesia's Papua province, despite the government's decision to postpone a move to divide the province into three.

The violence erupted on Saturday, when one of the three proposed new provinces was inaugurated.

Supporters and opponents of the plan attacked each other in the western town of Timika, armed with bows, arrows and spears.

Although the situation has calmed down since the weekend, sporadic street clashes were still continuing on Thursday, police chief Paulus Waterpaw said.

"Crowds of people are still gathering with bows and arrows," Mr Waterpaw said.

"We hope that their leaders will explain the government's latest decision to calm things down."

Indonesia's senior security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said the government had decided to shelve its plans for what he called political and administrative reasons.

But he emphasised that there had been no decision to cancel the policy completely.

The BBC correspondent in Jakarta, Rachel Harvey, says Papuan representatives are continuing to lobby the central government, saying the division of the province should be dropped completely, not just postponed.

Jakarta maintains that its plan to split the province was purely to improve administration.

But critics say the government wanted to control rising separatist sentiment.

Willy Nandown, a mediator for the Papuan Council which represents the region's indigenous communities - the main opponents of the plan - has told the BBC that many Papuans felt excluded under Indonesian rule.

"It's only one or two elite [people] in Papua that talk on behalf of the Papuans," he told the East Asia Today programme earlier this week.

A former Minister for Autonomy, Ryas Rashid, said the split was actually proposed four years ago.

"The three provinces were decided in 1999 but never implemented," Mr Rashid told the BBC.

"In 2003 there was a presidential instruction to bring back the decision," he said.

Tribesmen have vowed not to end the violence until the same number of people have been killed from each side.

Three of those killed, including the latest victim, were opponents of the plan.

Police have been trying to negotiate a deal involving "compensation under tribal laws", such as the slaughter of pigs, according to the French news agency AFP.

Indonesia took over Papua from the Dutch in 1963. The province changed its name from Irian Jaya in January 2002.

Indonesia shelves Papua division
27 Aug 03  |  Asia-Pacific
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Thousands attend Irian Jaya funeral
17 Nov 01  |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Grief in Irian Jaya
13 Nov 01  |  Asia-Pacific
Separatist leader killed in Indonesia
11 Nov 01  |  Asia-Pacific
Irian Jaya to get more autonomy
23 Oct 01  |  Asia-Pacific


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