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Rebels demand Indonesia negotiate on Papua independence

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Rebels in Indonesia’s troubled Papua province are demanding the government hold negotiations on granting the province self-determination.

The spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, Sebby Sambom, said Friday that they attacked a government construction site last weekend because they believe the project is being carried out by the Indonesian military.

He called for the government to agree to peace talks similar to ones that led to another province, Aceh, becoming semiautonomous, or a “real referendum” on independence as occurred in the former Indonesian territory of East Timor.

Authorities say the attacks Sunday, which killed 19 construction workers, were one of the bloodiest by separatists who have battled Indonesian rule in the region for half a century. A soldier at a military post near the site was also shot.

The Associated Press