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21 killed in political violence in Papua, Indonesia

GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW: Please be forewarned that an image lower down on this post could be disturbing to some readers.

21 people have been reported killed in two separate incidents of political violence in Papua, a province in eastern Indonesia.

On Sunday, the AP reported that 17 were killed in clashes between supporters of rival candidates in upcoming local elections. A police spokesman said that hundreds of supporters of two rival groups clashed with rocks, bows and arrows outside the local parliament building in Puncak district.

The BBC reported a second incident in Abepura district on Monday, where gunmen opened fire on a crowded minibus killing four people and wounding at least seven others.

Pictures taken after the first incident were made available by the AP today.

AP

In a photo taken on August 1 and made available today, villagers survey the damaged home of an election candidate, where a meeting was to be held, after hundreds of supporters of two rival groups clashed at Ilaga in Puncak, West Papua province, Indonesia, on July 31.

AP

A man, with arrows stuck in his body, lies dead as a house belonging to a candidate burns after supporters of two rival groups clashed at Ilaga in Puncak, West Papua, on July 31.

Reuters reported that thousands of Papuans marched on the local parliament in the provincial capital on Tuesday, demanding a referendum for independence from the archipelago.

Indonesia's government and military have been criticized in the past for human rights abuses in the province, after Indonesia took over Papua in 1969 from Dutch colonial rule in a vote by community leaders that was widely criticised as flawed, Reuters reported.