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Various West Papua updates

Tension high in Papua village

The Jakarta Post

October 17, 2004

INDONESIA: The situation in Tinggi Nambut village, Puncak Jaya regency remained tense on Friday, following the murder of five construction workers, all migrants from Makassar, South Sulawesi province earlier on Tuesday.

Fearing a backlash from the Indonesian Police, the alleged Papuan separatists, who have been accused over the killings of the migrants and have been holed up in the village, located in the central highlands of Papua, burned down public buildings, including elementary schools and the subdistrict cooperative office on Friday.

No fatalities were reported during the fires, which were apparently aimed at shifting the attention of the Indonesian police, according to preliminary speculation by Comr. Wempy Batlayeri, the chief of Paniai police overseeing Puncak Jaya regency in Papua province, on Saturday.

Papua ambush kills six

Suspected separatists in Indonesia's troubled Papua province have ambushed a convoy near the highland town of Wamena, killing six people.

Indonesian military officials say about 50 members of the rebel Free Papua Movement attacked the convoy, spraying the vehicles with gunfire and setting them alight.

The rebels are also said to have blocked the road with fallen trees, preventing the removal of the bodies.

The convoy was carrying food and building materials for a local firm.

Six die in separatist violence in Papua province

In Indonesia's remote eastern province of Papua, six civilians have been killed after separatist rebels sprayed their vehicles with bullets in an ambush.

The killings are reportedly the latest in a series of deaths in the province and have prompted an evacuation of hundreds of people from the area to prevent further bloodshed.

A national police spokesman says gunmen, believed to be of the Free Papua Organisation, a rebel group behind a long-running and sporadic independence battle, carried out the attack late Tuesday near Papua's Mulia town.

He says the victims had been working for a local contractor in the village of Munia.

The Free Papua Organisation, which is split into factions, has been fighting a sporadic war since 1963 when Indonesia took over the territory from Dutch colonisers.

Six die in Papua ambush

Six civilians have been killed, following an ambush on a convoy of vehicles carrying food and supplies in Indonesia's troubled Papua province.

Indonesian military officials say the convoy of 10 people was ambushed by about 50 separatists, who burned cars and cut down trees, blocking the road and preventing efforts to retrieve the bodies.

The separatist Free Papua Movement has been waging long-running armed resistance campaign against Jakarta's rule of the province.

PNG smugglers jailed in Jayapura

AT least 10 Papua New Guinea citizens are in jail in the Indonesian province of Papua for smuggling offences and breaches of Indonesian immigration laws.

Most, if not all, are in the central jail in the provincial capital, Jayapura, which is easily accessible by road and sea from neighbouring PNG's West Sepik province ports of Wutung and Vanimo. One of the prisoners is the son of a former senior public servant in West Sepik province whose mother has made a number of pleas to Indonesian authorities to release her son.

This was revealed to The National recently by Indonesia's border affairs liaison chief, Surianto, in Jayapura when commenting on the increase of drug smuggling from Papua New Guinea and the gross abuses of traditional border pass (TBP) by Papua New Guineans visiting Papua.

Mr Surianto said that as of August this year, there were at least 10 Papua New Guineans charged with various smuggling offences, had appeared before Indonesina courts and were jailed. He did not elaborate on the jail terms.

The most recent Papua New Guinean to be arrested and detained in Jayapura on suspicion of smuggling is a Wewak-based police sergeant Bruno Kailo almost a month ago. He faces a jail term if found guilty as charged.

East Sepik police chief Leo Kabilo has confirmed Sgt Kailo's arrest and detention, saying that his officer was on a private visit transporting vanilla buyers, but using a police-issue boat without permission.

The Indonesian Embassy has confirmed that a number of Papua New Guineans are in jail in Jayapura.

An embassy spokesman said that every country has its immigration laws which must be followed by its citizens and foreigners alike. No-one is exempted and no one is above the law, the spokesman said. PNG consul in Jayapura, Jeffrey Toulube, has also told The National that he was aware of a number of Papua New Guineans in jail in Jayapura but he had not been provided a list, or family members had not approached the consulate to inquire.

before Indonesina courts and were jailed. He did not elaborate on the jail terms.

The most recent Papua New Guinean to be arrested and detained in Jayapura on suspicion of smuggling is a Wewak-based police sergeant Bruno Kailo almost a month ago. He faces a jail term if found guilty as charged.

East Sepik police chief Leo Kabilo has confirmed Sgt Kailo's arrest and detention, saying that his officer was on a private visit transporting vanilla buyers, but using a police-issue boat without permission.

The Indonesian Embassy has confirmed that a number of Papua New Guineans are in jail in Jayapura.

An embassy spokesman said that every country has its immigration laws which must be followed by its citizens and foreigners alike. No-one is exempted and no one is above the law, the spokesman said. PNG consul in Jayapura, Jeffrey Toulube, has also told The National that he was aware of a number of Papua New Guineans in jail in Jayapura but he had not been provided a list, or family members had not approached the consulate to inquire.

BP Signs Agreement with Sempra Energy LNG to Bring First Asia Pacific Gas to North American Markets

LONDON, Oct. 12

BP and its partners in the Tangguh Liquefied Natural Gas Project have signed a long term sales and purchase agreement with Sempra Energy LNG to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Indonesia to markets in Mexico and the US.

Developed with BPMIGAS, Indonesia's executive agency for oil and gas, the agreement represents the first long term supply of Asia Pacific gas to North American markets.

Under the agreement, up to 3.7 million tonnes of LNG a year will be delivered from the BP-operated Tangguh LNG project in Indonesia over a period of 20 years beginning in 2008 to Sempra Energy's proposed LNG receiving terminal near Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico.

The terminal, when completed, will have the capacity to process up to 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas - approximately 7.5 million tonnes per year of LNG inputs. Sempra will market the gas to Mexico and the west coast of the US.

The agreement will be highly flexible in nature allowing LNG cargoes to be diverted to capture value in other markets while providing substantial base volumes and revenues to the Sempra Energy LNG terminal.

Vivienne Cox, Chief Executive of BP's Gas, Power & Renewables division, said: "This is an important deal for a number of reasons. It secures a high value market for Indonesia's gas resources and connects gas users in Mexico and the US to a significant new energy supply source. It completes our portfolio of markets for a two-train launch of the Tangguh project by taking the level of agreed sales beyond 7.5 million tonnes per year. And with its highly distinctive flexibility, it will allow us to continue offering Tangguh gas to other important markets in Asia Pacific such as Japan."

The Tangguh LNG project, located in Papua, Indonesia, has previously secured LNG sales contracts with customers in China and South Korea. Donald E. Felsinger, president and chief operating officer of Sempra Energy, said: "This landmark agreement represents a significant, positive step forward for LNG projects in North America and Asia. The agreement enables the further development of the first new LNG receipt terminal along North America's West Coast, while allowing a new LNG supply project to move forward in Indonesia."

SOURCE BP P.L.C.

Members of Congress Oppose U.S. Assistance to Unreformed, "Corrupt" Indonesian Military

Press Release

October 12, 2004 - Citing "grave concerns over the prospects for real military reforms," 45 members of the U.S. Congress called possible State Department plans to provide foreign military financing (FMF) for Indonesia in 2006 "premature, unwarranted, and unwise."

In a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, the members of Congress wrote that "impunity remains firmly entrenched" and justice has not been served for past human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere. "The rights record of the TNI [Indonesian military] continues to be unacceptable. Crackdowns against civilians have escalated in West Papua. The end of martial law in Aceh has not led to improvements on the ground," they wrote.

They called the Indonesian military "a massively corrupt institution," much of whose income "comes from illegal and semi-legal activities, including prostitution, drug-dealing, environmentally destructive logging, and trafficking in people."

The Representatives wrote, "Restricting FMF sends a critical message to the TNI and should not be dispensed until there is genuine reform and justice for rights violations."

In a briefing this week, departing U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Ralph Boyce told foreign press that he was disappointed that U.S.-Indonesia military relations remain restricted due to Jakarta's failure to prove that it had improved its human rights record. Boyce stated, "we don't have the material with which to seriously go to Congress and do that."

FMF provides grants and loans for weapons and other military equipment and training. Congress has restricted FMF since 2000 and is set to renew the restriction for the 2005 fiscal year.

Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Lane Evans (D-IL), and James McGovern (D-MA) organized the letter. A copy of the letter and a complete list of signers

Letter to Colin Powell

Washington, DC 20515

October 7, 2004

The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Powell:

We are deeply concerned that the Department of State is considering provision of foreign military financing (FMF) for Indonesia. FMF for Indonesia is ill-advised and should not be included in the Administration's FY06 budget request.

As you are aware, Congress has restricted FMF for Indonesia since FY 2000, conditioning its provision on Indonesian military (TNT) budget transparency and accountability and justice for gross human rights violations. There has been no such justice served, and impunity remains firmly entrenched. Recently, an appeals court in Indonesia overturned the only convictions of Indonesian military and police charged with crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999. The State Department declared, "We are profoundly disappointed with the performance and record of the Indonesian ad hoc tribunal." The tribunal on the 1984 massacre of Muslim protesters at Tanjung Priok in Jakarta has been gravely disappointing. Further, because of the absolute lack of cooperation by Indonesian government and security forces with the East Timor-UN Serious Crimes Unit, 75 percent of those accused remain at large in Indonesia.

The rights record of the TNI continues to be unacceptable. Crackdowns against civilians have escalated in West Papua. The end of martial law in Aceh has not led to improvements on the ground. Since May, hundreds have been killed. Support for Laskar Jihad, nationalist, and other terrorist militia to cause and provoke conflict remains a common strategy of the TNI.

Despite Congressional and other calls for greater transparency in the TNI's budget, the military remains a massively corrupt institution, with less than a third of its funding provided by Jakarta. Much of the rest comes from illegal and semi-legal activities, including prostitution, drug-dealing, environmentally destructive logging, and trafficking in people.

While Indonesia's civilian institutions deserve praise for the country's first direct presidential election, we have grave concerns over the prospects for real military reforms. President-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was a general under Suharto and a commander in East Timor in the 1980s.

Restricting FMF sends a critical message to the TNI and should not be dispensed until there is genuine reform and justice for rights violations. To date, however, reform and accountability are absent. Provision of FMF for Indonesia in FY06 is premature, unwarranted, and unwise.

We thank you for your serious consideration and look forward to your prompt response.

Indonesia missed opportunity to restore military ties: US ambassador

JAKARTA, Oct 11 (AFP) -

Indonesia missed an opportunity to restore military ties with the United States by failing to make its soldiers accountable for abuses in East Timor, the outgoing US ambassador said Monday.

"I consider it a misgiving on my part that I'm leaving without having normalized mil-mil relations because it was there to have," Ambassador Ralph Boyce told reporters.

"So that's a regret on my part but it's not a regret because we didn't do something. It's a regret because the Indonesians didn't take the opportunity," said Boyce, who ends a three-year term here on October 22 before taking up a new posting in Bangkok.

United States officials have repeatedly expressed their disappointment at the outcome of Jakarta's human rights tribunals set up to try military, police and civilian officials accused of abuses in connection with East Timor's bloody 1999 separation from Indonesia.

In August, the Indonesian supreme court overturned the ad hoc tribunal's conviction of four Indonesian security officers, meaning that no members of the security forces were found guilty of rights abuses in East Timor.

Only two of the 18 original defendants stand convicted, and both are East Timorese civilians.

Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman of the State Department, has said the process "was seriously flawed and lacked credibility."

Military cooperation with the United States was sharply reduced in 1999 when Congress in Washington passed the so-called Leahy Amendment during the East Timor turmoil.

Under the Leahy Amendment, assistance is suspended until certain conditions are met, including effective measures to bring to justice members of the armed forces and militia groups suspected of rights abuses.

"After three years we have not in fact substantively changed our relationship with (the Indonesian Armed Forces) all that much because the much-touted East Timor ad hoc trials on human rights violations didn't produce anything," Boyce said.

The United Nations alleges that the Indonesian military and militias it created murdered at least 1,400 people before and after East Timorese voted in August 1999 for independence. They also deported about 200,000 people to Indonesian West Timor and destroyed close to 70 percent of all buildings in the territory, according to UN prosecutors.

Restoration of military equipment assistance depends on accountability over the East Timor abuses while funds for military education have hinged on another case, the ambush killing of two Americans in Papua province two years ago.

Indonesia expressed hope in June that the Papua case was no longer an obstacle after the US decided to charge Anthonius Wamang, a Papuan separatist rebel, with the killings.

The decision vindicated the Indonesian military following allegations they were involved, the Indonesian foreign ministry said.