Oceania: West Papua Genocide
Thousands face genocide by Indonesian military
09 Dec 2004 03:24 GMT
Since August 17 the Indonesian military have been attacking villages in the heavily forested highland district of Puncak Jaya of West Papua. Dozens have already been killed; either directly by bullets from helicopter gun ships or from starvation in the crowded makeshift camps that now adorn Pancak Jaya the highest mountain in Australasia...
West Papuans in the jungle with Morning Star flag
The military assault follows guerrilla attacks attributed to around 50 OPM / T.P.N. warriors in mid October. Six Indonesian construction workers were killed when their vehicle was attacked. This was followed by the torching of government schools and administration buildings.
Latest Reports: Message from the jungle (Dec 6) | Abepura: Images of Flag raising and police brutality (Dec 1)
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The subsequent state reaction has led to "internal refugees" now exceeding 15,000 people from 147 villages. Some are forced to hide in caves in the mountains in the central Puncak Jaya district.
People are starving. The death of 15 people, mainly children, was reported on November 27th. There are 2800 troops in several locations around Puncak Jaya, blocking off access to the Papuans who fled into the forest seeking refuge. As well as direct attacks on people the troops have been destroying village houses, wrecking food gardens, killing domestic animals etc.
Against this huge state assault the tribes have shown their instincts for both flight AND fight. In mid November after much of the population had fled into the forest a government convoy on the way to the area was ambushed. One policeman was killed and 12 officials, police and local media were injured.
The helicopter gunship herding of the main mass of tribes people up onto the mountain peaks probably serves three functions:
- Collective Punishment: for guerrilla attacks on development projects. The military must show both the population as a whole and warriors in particular that the death of children, lovers and family is the reward for insurgency - just as the British army did in India, Borneo and Kenya!
- Draining the Sea: means the fish have nothing to swim in. The Papuan people are the sea and the military may hope that by driving them up onto the peaks it can easier deal with the warriors left behind at least for now.
- Genocide: in the service of expansion and profit is the primary function of the Indonesian Army in New Guinea. Today's cold mountain top deaths are just the most recent in a massacre that has eradicated a sixth of the Papuan population...
WEST PAPUA - REFUGEE CRISIS IS STILL URGENT