Thursday, July 27, 2006

OPM claims to give up armed struggle in Papua

Some 40 years of sporadic guerrilla warfare against Indonesian troops in the province of Papua appears to be drawing to a close. The Free West Papua movement, known as the OPM, has long promoted independence from Indonesia. This week, OPM guerrilla commanders held an historic meeting in Madang in neighbouring Papua New Guinea. There, they pledged to end their armed struggle and continue their fight for Papua's independence, but through non-violent action, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's PNG correspondent Steve Marshall reported.

"The commanders responsible for coordinating attacks on Indonesian troops have agreed to operate together. Now, they are appealing to the international community to support this new umbrella organisation," Nikolaus Ipo Hau, the OPM Revolutionary Council chairman who lives in exile in PNG said. "This doesn't mean a surrender and it is not a defeat for the OPM. Now, the organisation wants to be respecting of human rights. We want to promote this. It doesn't mean we can't fight - we will defend ourselves and if we are attacked, we will attack - but we want to move forward with a peaceful solution."

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