Food worries as rebels besiege villages in Indonesia's Papua

Jakarta - Police said residents in two villages allegedly besieged by separatist rebels in Indonesia's restive Papua province were facing food shortages, state media reported on Saturday.

Gunmen have taken control of two villages in Mimika district near a gold and copper mine operated by US-owned company Freeport-McMoRan and prevented migrant illegal gold miners from outside Papua from leaving. 
"We received information that food supplies have started to run out and will only last for the next few days," Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, was quoted by the state Antara news agency as saying.  
Migrant groups in Mimika have urged security forces to take action to evacuate the workers, he said.
Foreign journalists are restricted from reporting from Papua and police claims are difficult to independently verify.
Police have dispatched 700 personnel to near the villages controlled by the rebels and tried to negotiate with them.  
Top security minister Wiranto has called on security forces to handle the situation "persuasively" to avoid bloodshed. 
Resource-rich Papua has been the scene of a low-level separatist insurgency for decades. 
Indonesian security forces have been accused of human rights violations in its counter-insurgency operations in the country's easternmost province. 

Saturday, November 11th 2017

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