BIAK, IRIAN JAYA MASSACRE VERIFIED

admin's picture

By Lindsay Murdoch Sydney Morning Herald Correspondent in Jakarta

JAKARTA, Indonesia (July 13, 1999 – Morning Herald/Abridged)---An independent investigation has confirmed a Herald report that Indonesian soldiers massacred Irian Jaya demonstrators and dumped others at sea off the island of Biak last year.

The investigation team found at least eight people were shot and 37 others hurt when troops opened fire on unarmed people after they had raised the West Papua independence flag and that 32 bodies recovered at sea were also victims of military atrocities.

The Herald reported in November that witnesses saw Irianese, many of them women and children, taken out to sea in an Indonesian Navy ship and dumped overboard.

But the Indonesian armed forces strongly denied the claims, saying the bodies were those of victims of the tsunami that struck the Papua New Guinea coast 900 kilometers (540 miles) away.

The investigation team, appointed by three churches and the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy, called for an official investigation of human rights violations in Irian Jaya.

The institute's executive director, Mr. Yohanes Bonay, said the military's explanation for the washed up bodies was nonsense.

"We all know that the tsunami occurred on July 17, 1998, eight days after the bodies were found," he said. "Besides, do Papua New Guineans wear Golkar or Indonesian group T-shirts?"

Forwarded by: Ottis Simopiaref PO Box 545 6700 AM Wageningen, The Netherlands Tel: +31.6.51700331 Email: osimopiaref@netscape.net http://webmail.netscape.com.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News")

IRIAN JAYANESE YOUTHS PROTEST AGAINST VIOLENCE

JAKARTA, Indonesia (July 15, 1999 – ANTARA)---About 100 Irian Jayanese members of the Irian Jaya Youth Communication Forum staged a demonstration in front of the Parliament building here Thursday, protesting a series of killings and abductions of activists in Sorong, Jayapura district recently.

During the protest, which started at 10:30 a.m., they hoisted the flag of West Papua.

Ten representatives of the demonstrators were received by a Public Relations officer of the Parliament. The demonstrators wanted to meet Commission I of the House of Representatives (DPR), but the commission was in a meeting with Justice Minister Muladi.

Members of the armed forces faction were expected to meet with the ten representatives, but as of 12:00 noon none of the faction's members came out to meet the protesters.

While the ten representatives were trying to meet the House members, the other demonstrators gave speeches in the Parliament’s parking lots to criticize economic gaps and poverty in the province.

In a letter to the House speaker, the Forum, led by John Poly Menanti, said they will raise the issue of abduction of activists in the province.

During the protest, the building was highly guarded by police officers and anti-riot troops.

IRIANESE URGE POLICE TO STOP VIOLENCE

JAKARTA, Indonesia (July 16, 1999 - Jakarta Post)---A group of Irianese held a protest in front of the National Police Headquarters on Thursday, demanding an end to violence by security personnel in their home province.

They also demanded that National Police chief Gen. Roesmanhadi replace Irian Jaya Police chief Brig. Gen. Hotma Siagian, whom they accused of being responsible for abuses of police power leading to rights violations.

Representatives of the Organization of West Papua People in Greater Jakarta were received by National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Togar M. Sianipar.

Wearing white headbands and white T-shirts reading "West Papua Never Dies," the group earlier went to the House of Representatives to convey their protests.

West Papua refers to Irian Jaya, the official name for the province that is not recognized by Irianese striving for a separate country.

The protesters referred to an incident in Sorong, Irian Jaya, on July 5, in which a motorcycle taxi driver, Bani, was killed. A student was also severely injured, according to the group.

Four student activists and another 44 people -- all members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) -- were arrested and are still in police detention, they said.

The group proposed that Col. Ayub Sawaki, a police officer said to be the best native recruit, replace Hotma.

"I know many Irianese who have entered the police academy but none of them have managed to be high-rank officers, not even a general. Give us the chance, bapak (father), to have our brother as a leader in our own home," group representative Henky Yokhu told Togar, the police spokesman.

"Police used to be respected in Irian but lately they have acted like the military -- shooting Irianese to settle everything, as if bullets are cheap. Don't they know that bullets are also bought with our money?"

Togar said that the police force had been separated from the military but that it was still on its way to full independence.

It is not easy to change the military culture and code of conduct among the police, who all had military training, he said.

Togar said he would contact Brig. Gen. Hotma for confirmation of the allegations, and promised to convey their demands to the National Police chief.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News")

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment