Indonesia’s Minister of Defence has called for members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to be arrested when they return to the country.
The pro-independence organisation has just concluded a summit in Vanuatu, where the UK-based activist Benny Wenda was elected its new chairman.
Vanuatu’s government also donated a building in Port Vila to the Movement for its use as a Pacific regional headquarters.
While the Movement has observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Indonesia’s government is opposed to it representing Papuans internationally, as well as its pro-independence activities.
A number of the Movement’s executive members live in exile, but some of those who had travelled to Vila for last week’s summit face possible arrest when they return to the Indonesian-ruled Papua region.
According to Indonesian media, the Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said that those involved in the summit should be arrested on their return.
He also expressed disappointment at the involvement of diplomats from Melanesian countries who actively support the Liberation Movement.