Nine held for flying banned flag in Indonesian Papua

Eight men and a woman unfurled the banned "Morning Star" flag in a village.

Jayapura: Nine people have been arrested after an outlawed separatist flag was raised in Indonesia`s remote Papua province, police said on Sunday.

Eight men and a woman from the West Papua Revolutionary Army, the militant wing of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM), unfurled the banned "Morning Star" flag on Saturday in a village in Jayawijaya district, local police chief I Gede Sumerta Jaya said.

"We arrested nine people and they`re being investigated. They had raised the Morning Star flag. We found the flag and a wooden pole," he said.

"They`re likely to be named suspects on charges of plotting against the state," he added.

Anyone convicted of displaying separatist symbols faces possible life sentence in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with a history of secessionist rebellions.

Indonesia won sovereignty over Papua, a former Dutch colony on the western half of New Guinea island, in 1969 after a vote among a select group of Papuans widely seen as a sham.

Many Papuans accuse Indonesia`s military of violating human rights in the province and complain that the bulk of earnings from its rich natural resources flow to Jakarta.

Bureau Report