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Indonesia police 'kill' Papua separatist Kelly Kwalik

By Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta

Rebels raise the Morning Star flag
Raising the Papuan flag, the Morning Star, is illegal in Indonesia

The leader of Papua's separatist movement has been killed in a shootout with Indonesian police, local officials have said.

They said Kelly Kwalik was fatally shot while fleeing police conducting a raid in the Papuan town of Timika.

Kelly Kwalik has been on Indonesia's most wanted list for years.

A small group of separatists in the Indonesian province of Papua have been fighting for independence from Indonesia for decades.

Police believe he was responsible for a deadly attack in 2002 on the American gold and copper mining firm Freeport McMoran which has some of its largest mines in Papua.

They also say he is a known leader of Papua's independence movement.

After years of hunting him in the vast jungles of the Indonesian province, officials say they have finally got their man.

Agus Riyanto, a spokesman for the Papuan police, says Mr Kwalik was shot while trying to escape during a police raid.

But other reports say the body of the man who was shot is still undergoing DNA tests to confirm his identity.

If the man killed by the police is Kelly Kwalik it will be a huge blow to the province's disorganised independence struggle.

The separatist movement in Papua may be small - but it is fuelled by decades of resentment.

Recently human rights watchdog Amnesty International accused Indonesian police of abuses in the province, claiming dozens of independence demonstrators have been wrongfully arrested in the last year.

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