Sat, 11 Sep 1999

Irianese push for independence

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya: The head of a team of community leaders here, known as Team 100, said the group had submitted a formal report to President B.J. Habibie on considerations for the province to gain independence.

Team leader Tom Beanal said here on Friday that the report was submitted on Aug. 13 through the presidential secretary in Jakarta.

The group, he said, was now awaiting a response from the president.

The report was drafted following a discussion between Habibie and 100 Irian Jaya representatives on Feb. 26 at the State Palace in Jakarta.

According to Beanal, who is an Amungme tribal leader, most of the Team 100 members urged Habibie to give Indonesia's easternmost province independence. However, efforts to gain independence should be done through peaceful means without bloodshed, he added. (34)