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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Election violence claims 5 in Indonesia

Thu, 09 Apr 2009 05:47:00 GMT | PressTV


Police inspect a suspected bomb outside the police station in Abepura in eastern Papua province on April 9, 2009.



Separate incidents have claimed five lives across Indonesia's eastern Papua province as ballots opened in the country's third general elections since 1998.

The politically tense province has a decades-long history of separatism and police were on high alert on Wednesday in wake of calls for a boycott of the polls and demonstrations.

In one incident before dawn on Thursday, police shot dead a man after a group of 100 protesters armed with bows and arrows attacked their post outside the provincial capital Jayapura, hurling petrol bombs.

Police officials have arrested 14 people -- all students -- in connection with the attacks.

Late on Wednesday, three motorcycle and taxi drivers were killed in suspicious stabbing attacks, while a building at the Abepura University was set ablaze claiming the life of a four-year-old girl.

"The incidents ... indicate that there are people who want the elections to fail," provincial police chief Bagus Ekodanto said.

The area was submitted to Indonesian rule following a UN-sponsored vote in 1969 by select tribal elders. The move questioned the credibility of Indonesia's rule over the region, giving rise to decades of pro-independence insurgency.

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