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Indonesian Police Detain 12 in 2002 Killings of 2 American Teachers

Indonesian police have detained 12 separatist rebels in Papua province suspected of involvement in the 2002 killing of two American teachers.

Police say the suspects were arrested late Wednesday in the town of Timika, close to where the teachers were ambushed. The detainees include Anthonius Wamang, who was indicted by the U.S. government in 2004 in connection with the attack.

The suspects are said to be members of a small seperatist group (Free Papua Movement) that has fought a low-level guerrilla war for independence since Indonesia took over Papua from Dutch colonialists in 1963.

Gunmen killed the two American teachers (Rickey Lynn Spier and Leon Edwin Burgon) and an Indonesian colleague as they rode in a convoy near a gold mine, operated by a U.S. company (Freeport).

Human rights groups said they doubt Papua rebels were to blame. They accuse Indonesia's military of carrying out the shootings, to scare the gold mine owners into paying more money for protection.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.