The killing of two unarmed West Papuans in Nduga conflict zone on the 18th of July is yet another senseless killing by Indonesian military adding to the number of 257 civilians that have died since the war was declared on 2nd December 2018 against the Indonesian military by the West Papua National Liberation Army (WPNLA) the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) under the leadership of General Egianus Kogoya.
According to Mr. Benny Wenda the Chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Elias Karunggu (40) and Seru Karunggu (20), father and son, were shot dead in cold blood by the Indonesian military which he also demands the withdrawal of all Indonesian military from the conflict zone and let West Papua people determine their own future. The two were returning to Keneyam the capital of Nduga regency from their hideout in the jungles when they were captured and shot by the Indonesian military after interrogation and torture. They had been displaced from their homes for months due to the brutal Indonesian military operations in the area that made more than 50, 000 people homeless for the last one and half years.
Indonesian government is increasing its military personnel in West Papua building up its military strength in all the strategic centres doing unnecessary checks and intimidating the local population amid the growing demand for the withdrawal of the territory’s special autonomy package that is due to end in 2021. The Indonesian government has decided to lengthen the autonomy package deal for West Papuans that was granted in 2001 without consulting the people of West Papua violating their basic human rights under the country’s constitution and the Special Autonomy Law Article 77 in particular.
West Papuans from all walks of life are rejecting the government’s offer of lengthening the Special autonomy and demand their right to self-determination. People of West Papua including their leaders are expressing their views about the autonomy and its effects on West Papua people have more negative than positive benefits. ULMWP Chairman stated that ‘independence is the only solution to West Papua conflict.” West Papua Council of Churches have also rejected the renewal of the Special Autonomy and has called on the government to let West Papuan people to decide their own destiny.
There were also 57 West Papuan Catholic Priests who echoed the voices of the people to reject the offer of autonomy and encouraged the government to come to the ‘negotiation’ table peacefully to resolve the conflict. A total of 27 CSOs and NGOs organised by West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in West Papua have written a petition to the government demanding the withdrawal of Special Autonomy and allow the people to decide their own destiny. The Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP) Papua Customary representatives also echoed the same sentiments of the people by rejecting the offer for the extension of Special Autonomy in West Papua. West Papuan intellectuals and Students are echoing the same voices from the people. Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) also rejected the Special autonomy offer and is calling on their own government to grant self-determination for West Papuans.
Indonesia on the other hand, is also setting up its own groups and militia organizations to counter the peoples’ voices backed by the Police and Military including the thousands of intelligentsia and undercover agents in West Papua. Situation in West Papua is tense as the emotions run high on both sides of the divide and Indonesian military and intelligence are busy cooking up lies through false media propaganda. The Indonesian government is looking for a way out in its own mass in West Papua since the public opinion in West Papua is going against their wishes.
The Chairman of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka/Free Papua Movement (OPM/FPM) Jeffrey Bomanak is also supporting the People of West Papua’s petition against the Special Autonomy and is calling on Indonesian government to open up to resolve the conflict through internationally mediated negotiation peacefully according to the Article 33 of the United Nations Charter.