Catholic clergy in Indonesia’s Papua province have called for a ceasefire between security forces and separatist rebels as thousands of residents flee their homes after a two-year-old boy was killed amid the clashes.
“We’re calling on both warring parties to immediately hold a ceasefire and start a dialogue to bring about lasting peace,” Father Dominikus Hodo said.
About 6,000 people have taken shelter at local churches in the Intan Jaya district.
Papua police spokesman Faizal Ramadhani acknowledged the killing and that thousands of people have fled from the area, but added that the military was in control of vital public facilities.
Meanwhile, rebel spokesman Sebby Sambom said “the clash this week was a legitimate battle in the war for independence” and that their stand was to defend the right of the Papuans “to establish a state-guaranteed by international law.”
“The war for the liberation of the Papuan nation will not stop until Papua is free,” Sambom said.
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