Police kill 17 in West Papua, says rights group

Police kill 17 in West Papua, says rights group

Police kill 17 in West Papua, says rights group

Updated 29 February 2012, 16:15 AEDT

A human rights group says at least 17 people died last week after police using helicopters fired on houses in the Indonesian province of West Papua.

Radio Australia's Pacific Beat reports more than 20,000 people are said to now be homeless after security forces torched the dwellings in the Paniai regency.

The head of Jayapura-based non-government body Elsham said a number of those dead are said to be members of the Free Papua Movement or OPM.

Ferry Marisan said: "According to our reports - our volunteer reports from Paniai - about 10 people there are members of the OPM and the rest members of the local community, not members of the OPM."

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