TWO BELGIAN FILMMAKERS KIDNAPPED BY IRIAN JAYA SEPARATISTS

admin's picture

BRUSSELS, Belgium (June 14, 2001 – Joyo Indonesian News/AFP/ TAPOL)---Two Belgian documentary makers who disappeared a week ago in the forests of Irian Jaya have been kidnapped by separatists, the Belgian foreign ministry said Thursday.

"We received Tuesday evening confirmation from the Indonesian authorities that the Free Papua Movement has kidnapped our two compatriots," said ministry spokesman Koen Vervaeke.

"According to local police forces Philippe Simon, 49, and Johan van Den Eynde, 47, are in good health," he added.

"A ransom has not yet been asked for nor have any political demands been made," said Vervaeke.

The spokesman said that communication between police in Nabire -- 500 kilometers (310 miles) southwest of Jayapura -- and the kidnappers in the Ilaga region had been by radio.

Belgium was sending a diplomat from its embassy in Jakarta to the area on Thursday "to stress that the well-being of the Belgians is the prime concern while a solution is sought."

When the filmmakers -- who work for the Strasbourg-based Franco-German TV channel Arte -- disappeared, Belgian authorities reckoned that they might have been delayed by the difficult nature of travel in the region.

Armed rebels are waging a guerrilla war against Indonesian forces in predominantly Melanesian Irian Jaya.

The rebels want independence for the province in eastern Indonesia, which is largely covered by impenetrable jungle.

A few weeks ago, two South Koreans working on a forestry development project were taken hostage by Irian separatists before their release some days later.

Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 01420 80153 Email: plovers@gn.apc.org  Internet: www.gn.apc.org/tapol 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment