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Elections in Papua smooth, despite ongoing violence

Radio New Zealand International - April 24, 2019

Indonesia's military says elections held last week in Papua went smoothly, despite threats of more violence from rebels.

It comes after claims from the West Papua Liberation Army that it prevented voting from taking place in 32 districts across restive Nduga regency.

A spokesperson for the military, Colonel Muhammad Aidi, said there were several gunfire exchanges in Timika district but they did not affect voting.

Voting in Indonesia's massive one-day election last Wednesday was delayed until Thursday in several parts of Papua.

Final results have not been released but initial polling by observers showed around 136,000 votes counted in Papua favouring the incumbent president Joko Widodo.

Rebel groups and Papuan independence advocates had promised a wide-reaching election boycott – the United Liberation Movement for West Papua last week claimed a low 40 percent turnout in Papua – but it was unclear how effective this was.

Days before polling, the Liberation Army claimed to have killed two Indonesian soldiers in Nduga amid a military build up which brought hundreds of troops to the region for election security.

Colonel Aidi has denied that any soldiers were killed.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/387664/elections-in-papua-smooth-despite-ongoing-violence