Vanuatu daily news digest | West Papua activists report student spiesPosted: December 1, 2014
ABC Network News in Australia reports …
West Papuan independence activists and their supporters in Australia have accused Jakarta of using students to spy on them.
Lateline has been told postgraduate students are providing information to Indonesian intelligence about Australian citizens and has obtained photos that are claimed to be of some of the student spies.
The pictures were taken in June when the self-proclaimed Federal Republic of West Papua (FRWP) opened an office in Melbourne, as the West Papuan community and its supporters celebrated what they saw as a landmark in their long-running campaign for independence from Indonesia.
The celebrations were interrupted when three men, who had never been seen at any independence movement events, were seen recording the proceedings on smartphones.
The "foreign minister" of the FRWP, Jacob Rumbiak, confronted one of the men and was told they were there to gather information for the Indonesian government.
I think that the photos they took were sent to the Indonesian government by intelligence.
Jacob Rumbiak of the Federal Republic of West Papua.
"He’s explained that he’s studying a PHD at a Melbourne university and that also he works in the (Indonesian) department of foreign affairs. So he works in the government of Indonesia," Mr Rumbiak said.
He said the man explained he would be reporting back to Indonesian authorities.
"Another two also came and they took photos of this office. I think that the photos they took were sent to the Indonesian government by intelligence," Mr Rumbiak said.
The ABC has indentified and contacted one of the three Indonesian men who attended the opening of the office and asked for his version of events, but he has not responded.
The man is a post-graduate economics student at a university in Melbourne, and his Facebook page lists his employer as the Indonesian finance ministry.
The Indonesian embassy rejects the claims.
"The Indonesian Government does not assign its students studying in Australia, or anywhere, to collect/gather information from any sources," the embassy said in a statement.
"The possibility of Indonesian students’ presence at open-to-public events, including Papua-related ones, might relate to their studies or personal interests."