Mon, 11 Jun 2001

Two Belgians missing in Irian

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya: Two Belgian scientists have gone missing while conducting research in Illaga district, Puncak Jaya regency, Irian Jaya.

The two Belgians have been identified as Johan Elia Theo van Dem Eynde, 47, and Philippe R.D. Simon, 49.

Antara news agency quoted sources as saying the two were kidnapped by separatist guerrillas. The police, however, have denied these claims.

Irian Jaya Police spokesman Comr. Zulkifli AR said police had received a report about the two missing Belgians, and that preliminary evidence did not support the claim that the two were kidnapped by separatists.

He said police were searching for the two foreign scientists, who had been lodging in the home of a local village chief. (02)