Papua rocked by killings, mass arrests 

Indonesia has released most of the 44 students and activists arrested last week at a Papuan university amid claims of large numbers of deaths of Indonesian security personnel. 
The University of Cenderawasih campus in Jayapura was raided in what the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) called an attempt to distract attention from bloodshed elsewhere in Indonesia’s giant, troubled Papua province.
A spokesman for the Indonesian embassy in Australia, Sade Bimantara, said one of the three students still held was under investigation for possessing 159 laptops.
Elsewhere, the Indonesian spokesman said a soldier and two separatists were killed in a shootout near the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine.
The mine has been exploited for decades by the US mining company Freeport, damaging the environment while providing tax for the authorities in Jakarta.
Papuans benefited little and are poorer, sicker and more likely to die young than their counterparts elsewhere in Indonesia.
Bimantara said Private Vicky Irad Uba Rumpaisum was “shot dead by a criminal separatist group” while on a patrol.
The West Papua National Liberation Army claimed a 10-year-old boy, one of its members and dozens of Indonesian personnel were killed in the clash.
Journalists and human rights groups are restricted from visiting and claims of Indonesian human rights violations, including widespread violence, mass arrests and killings, cannot be verified.
Indonesia’s claim on Papua was formalised in 1969 by a UN-supervised vote, which has been internationally denounced as undemocratic, and there have been allegations that the Jakarta authorities threatened the few who were chosen to vote.
But Bimantara claimed it was inaccurate to say Papua was annexed by Indonesia.
“The fact is that in 1969 the United Nations reaffirmed Indonesia’s sovereignty over the provinces of Papua and West Papua. These provinces are sovereign parts of Indonesia and never were listed on the UN decolonisation committee. This fact is indisputable and is internationally recognised.”
A pro-independence petition signed by 1.8 million Papuans was smuggled to New York last year and delivered to the UN by Oxford-based Papuan leader Benny Wenda. It was dismissed by the decolonisation committee, which said the Papuan case was outside its mandate.
An activist who was arrested for his role in the petition, Yanto Awerkion, was released in March after 15 months in jail.