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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Four die in Papua militant attack
By Clare Harkey
BBC East Asia regional editor

An attack on an army post in Indonesia's Papua province has left two soldiers and two civilians dead, police say.

Some 30 men armed with a Kalashnikov, bows, arrows and spears attacked the post near the Papua New Guinea border.

Police blame the attack on one of the small separatist groups fighting to end Indonesian rule in Papua.

It is the latest serious incident in recent weeks amid a sporadic separatist insurgency going on for decades.

The incident comes just under a month after four policemen and a soldier were killed during a demonstration against the vast US-owned gold and copper mine in the province.

Critics of the Freeport McMoRan mine - Indonesia's largest single taxpayer - say it damages the environment and brings few benefits to local people.

Diplomatic spat

There is also a major disagreement between the governments of Indonesia and Australian after Canberra granted temporary protection visas to 42 Papuans who arrived in Australia in January by boat.

They said they had been victims of Indonesian repression in the province.

The authorities in Jakarta are desperate to avoid these incidents escalating into a full-blown separatist conflict.

They also deny persistent reports from human rights groups of abuses committed by the military in Papua.

The president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has promised to sort out the problem and visited the region last week.

But with the number of violent incidents increasing, any solution seems a long way off.


SEE ALSO:
Papua protest leaves four dead
16 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Papua mine stopped by protests
22 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia flashpoints: Papua
28 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific


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