Indonesia has rejected renewed West Papuan separatists’ demands for independence and the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers as the death toll mounts after almost two weeks of fighting in the Papuan province.
At least 17 workers on a major highway construction project were killed 10 days ago in an attack claimed by the West Papua National Liberation Army, known at TPNPB.
The separatists claimed the men were Indonesian military personnel while Indonesian officials say the gunmen are violent criminals who must be held to account.
Gun battles erupted when the Indonesian military responded. At least four civilians reportedly died in the cross fire, with an unspecified number of soldiers and combatants also killed or wounded.
A civil conflict has raged since Indonesia’s annexation of the former Dutch colony and a disputed United Nations referendum in the 1960s, that has reportedly resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
https://www.sbs .com.au/news/indonesia-rejects-west-papua-demands-as-troops-hunt-separatists , 2018