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Indonesia delivers supplies to villages after Papua rebels' threat to Freeport

From Reuters - November 11, 2017

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Authorities in Indonesias eastern province of Papua are delivering food and aid to villages where security forces say an armed rebel group has blocked residents movement, as police and military surround the area, a police official said on Sunday.

Police say a group linked to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) is preventing about 1,000 people from leaving five villages near a giant copper mine operated by the American miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

We continue to try a persuasive approach and dialogue, said Viktor Mackbon, police chief of the Mimika area, where the villages are located. Talks with the group would be conducted through public and religious figures in the region, he added.

Officials delivered two truckloads of rice, instant noodles, and toiletries for the villagers.

Their access to these goods is not yet normal, so we must provide help, said Mackbon, adding that the rebel group had not tried to disrupt the supply effort.

Officials on Saturday said about 200 police and military personnel had been deployed in preparation for orders to secure the area by force, if necessary.

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