2 soldiers, 2 suspected separatists killed in Indonesia

Separatist rebels armed with bows and arrows stormed a military post in Papua province, sparking a clash that killed two soldiers and two of the attackers, the military said Tuesday.

In Jakarta, a presidential spokesman insisted Jakarta's claim over the resource-rich province was nonnegotiable, as were rebel demands for an independence referendum and a review of the much-criticized 1969 ballot there that saw the region incorporated into Indonesia.

"Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua is final," Andi Mallarangeng told members of the foreign correspondents club. "There will be no dialogue on a referendum and no dialogue on independence."

Monday's clash between troops and rebels Jakarta comes amid rising tension in Papua following the bludgeoning deaths of five security officers during a demonstration last month against U.S. mining giant Freeport.

Around 30 rebels attacked the post close to the remote province's border with Papua New Guinea on Monday when soldiers were manning a free health clinic set up to treat local villagers, said Maj. Gen Sunarto.

Most of the assailants were armed with traditional weapons, such as arrows and axes, but one had an AK-47 assault rife, he said.

"This event is proof that there is a threat from separatists in the region," said Sunarto, who goes by a single name. "The country must unite and fight them."

It was not immediately possible to contact the insurgents.

Independence activists and a small band of poorly armed rebels have, reports the AP.


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