admin's picture

JAKARTA, Indonesia (July 3, 1998 - Antara/Reuters)---Indonesian security forces wounded two students during a confrontation in remote Irian Jaya province on Friday, the official Antara news agency said, withdrawing an earlier report that one student had been killed.

It said the law student earlier reported to have been shot dead in the incident was in critical condition in hospital. A second student was also being treated after being shot in the knee.

Antara quoted the military commander at the provincial capital of Jayapura, Josef Samuel, as saying he regretted the shootings and apologized to a crowd of 200 students from Universitas Negeri Cenderawasih.

Samuel said the person responsible had not yet been identified.

A free speech forum being held by the students turned violent when they beat a person suspected of being an intelligence officer and threw stones at military personnel.

Antara said the incident followed two days of simmering unrest in Jayapura and other parts of the vast province where a low-level Free Papua (OPM) separatist insurgency has been under way since 1969. Indonesia took over the territory in 1963.

The agency said four vehicles and a bank branch had been badly damaged by stone-throwing demonstrators in Jayapura on Thursday.

Demonstrators demanding independence also smashed windows at a local government building in Sotong on the other side of the province on Thursday, Antara said.

Irian Jaya occupies the western half of New Guinea island, which it shares with the independent state of Papua New Guinea.



JAYAPURA, Indonesia (July 5, 1998 - Radio Australia)---An Indonesian intelligence agent beaten up by students during a pro-independence demonstration in Irian Jaya has died in the hospital.

The beating occurred on Friday at a university protest in the provincial capital, Jayapura.

Meanwhile, a hospital in Jayapura has been taken over by students and the public in protest at the bullet wounds suffered by two students during the demonstration.

Friday's violence came one day after an onlooker was shot dead and five others were injured when troops and police quelled another pro-independence demonstration in Sorong.

Rioting flared in Sorong and Jayapura after the shootings.

There have been a series of pro-independence demonstrations in Irian Jaya since the fall of former Indonesian President Suharto on May 21.


PRESS RELEASE July 3, 1998


Stephen Corry, Director of Survival, today made the following statement:

President Suharto no longer rules from Jakarta, but it is business as usual for the Indonesian army in Irian Jaya.

This disgraceful shooting of two unarmed civilians is simply the latest in a long line of abuses committed by the Indonesian army against the Papuan tribal peoples of Irian Jaya. At least 45,000 Papuans have been murdered by the army since the Indonesian occupation began in 1963.

Only two days ago, Indonesian troops shot dead one man in East Timor, in front of an EU delegation. No important delegation witnessed the shootings of law student Steven Suripati and high school student Ruth Onim, but the attacks are equally appalling.

Survival is calling for:


Law student Steven Suripati was shot in the head by Indonesian soldiers at Cenderawasih University, in the Irian Jaya capital of Jayapura, earlier today. He is currently in critical condition in hospital. High school student Ruth Onim was shot in both legs and is also in hospital. A further 41 people have been arrested in Jayapura, and troops have sealed off the road to the university campus.

The shootings followed demonstrations at the university by some 2,000 students, calling for an end to Jakarta’s rule over Irian Jaya. A member of the Indonesian military intelligence, who had infiltrated the crowd of demonstrators, was discovered and badly beaten. In retaliation for this attack, the army opened fire on the students, seriously injuring Stephen Nonopati and Ruth Onim. According to some witnesses the army used machine guns.

Demonstrations calling for independence have also taken place in Nabire, Biak, and Sorong, as the Papuans celebrated July 1, a symbolic date which is the annual focus of independence agitation. In a number of places the West Papuan flag has been raised, an action which in many cases has lead to imprisonment and even arbitrary execution. One man, Thomas Wanggai, died in prison in 1996, after being imprisoned for life for raising the West Papuan flag. His wife was sentenced to eight years for making the flag.

The Indonesian authorities often brand any opponents to their rule as supporters of the OPM, the guerrilla movement that has fought for independence for many years. Yet hostility to Indonesia’s rule is virtually universal among the indigenous Papuan peoples of Irian Jaya, many of whom have been encouraged by U.S. and EU support for a reevaluation of the status of East Timor.

Survival now fears that the army will respond to any further demonstrations with yet more bloodshed.

Survival Press Officer: Richard Garside 11-15 Emerald Street London WC1N 3QL United Kingdom Phone: 0171-242 1441 Fax: 0171-242 1771 E-mail: Internet:

Survival is a worldwide organization supporting tribal peoples. It stands for their right to decide their own future and helps them protect their lives, lands and human rights.

Forwarded by Chaumont Devin

Rate this article: 
Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Add new comment