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Eight Rebels, Two Indonesians Killed in Hostage-Rescue Raid

May 16, 1996 GMT

TIMIKA, Indonesia (AP) _ Separatist rebels hacked to death two Indonesian hostages during an army raid that rescued nine other captives, the military said Thursday.

Indonesian soldiers had tracked the rebels down in the jungles of Irian Jaya province on New Guinea island and attacked the hideout on Wednesday, freeing four Britons, three Indonesians and two Dutch people.

The freed hostages were flown Thursday to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. They were taken immediately to an army hospital for checkups and did not talk to reporters.

Dutch citizen Martha Klein, who is seven months pregnant, was injured in the hands by rebel spears during the raid, said Lt. Gen. Suyono, chief of the general staff.

The state-owned television station TVRI quoted a doctor at the hospital as saying three of the hostages needed intensive care, and the other six needed only a good rest.

The mutilated bodies of two Indonesian hostages were found near the rebels’ hideout. Their bodies were flown to Jakarta aboard a separate plane.

Prabowo, the son-in-law of President Suharto, said two rebels were captured and eight others were shot to death in the rescue operation. Several others escaped.

The troops moved in four months after rebels seized 26 people in Irian Jaya, an Indonesian province that shares New Guinea island with the independent nation of Papua New Guinea.

The guerrillas, who are fighting for the independence of Irian Jaya, had freed 15 people earlier. Several rounds of negotiations by the International Red Cross failed to secure the others’ release.

Prabowo said the military acted ``because the rebels have been lying and breaking their promises″ to the Red Cross to free the captives.

``A military operation had to be conducted,″ he said, and called on the rebels who escaped to surrender and face the law.

The soldiers found the rebels’ hideout in a jungle 2,500 miles northeast of Jakarta by following a trail of belongings they had left behind.