TEMBAGAPURA, Indonesia – Indonesian police say they have helped evacuate about 400 people from villages in easternmost Papua that are at the center of a standoff between security forces and separatists.
Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said Friday about three quarters of those who have left are migrants from other regions and the remainder indigenous Papuan women and children.
He says there was gunfire from hills surrounding one village that was hampering police and military efforts to move people.
Tensions in the region near the U.S.-owned Grasberg gold and copper mine have flared in the past month. A series of attacks by suspected separatists have killed two policemen.
Members of the National Liberation Army of West Papua last month declared an area near the mine a battlefield with Indonesian security forces.