Indonesia: Papuan Genocide – Terror Targets Church

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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 446 | Wed 19 Sep 2007

Ones Keiya (31) was found dying beside a road in Nabire, West
Papua, on the evening of 23 July 2007. He died in hospital hours
later from injuries that included deep lacerations to his head,
hands and feet as well as a smashed skull. Keiya was a local
indigenous Papuan farmer and member of the Maranatha Kingmi
Protestant Church. On 7 August, Matius Bunai (29), a youth worker
with the Kingmi church, was also found dead with injuries the same
as Keiya's. He had been ambushed the night before on his way home
from a church meeting. A church worker says the police are refusing
to investigate the killings which the Papuan community is certain
were committed by Indonesian security forces.

Indonesia has closed West Papua to the outside world and murdered
its nationalist leaders. Security is controlled by known abusers of
human rights and killers such as Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian,
indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor. In the midst of
this dangerous, volatile and repressive environment, courageous
church leaders risk their lives and use their networks and
international connections to keep getting news of the Papuan
genocide out to the world.

Rev Sofian Socratez Yoman is President of the Fellowship of West
Papuan Baptist Churches. He is a courageous, outspoken critic of
Indonesia's genocidal policies and human rights abuses in the
province. On Sunday evening 29 July, a group of Indonesian police,
soldiers and intelligence officers harassed and threatened him at
gunpoint outside the Baptist Church service in Jayapura. Paula
Makabory of the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights warns,
'My organisation is very concerned about Sofian Yoman's personal
safety.' According to Yoman, Indonesian military intelligence has
infiltrated the church and is working to subvert and divide it.
West Papua News and Information reports that on Sunday morning 2
September, Indonesian military, police and intelligence agents
distributed leaflets throughout Jayapura picturing and defaming
Sofian Yoman and Agus Alue-Aluay, Chairman of the Papuan People's
Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua {MRP}).

Since granting Special Autonomy to Papua in 2001 the Indonesian
authorities have increased their repression and terrorisation of
Papuans. The Indonesian military (TNI) frequently provoke clashes
and fake incidents which they then cite to justify killings,
massacres and ethnic cleansing. The Freeport killings at Timika in
2002 are one such example. Rev Ishak Onawame and two of his church
workers, Esau Onawame and Yarius Kiwak are amongst seven Papuans
languishing in Cipinang Prison, Jakarta, after being betrayed by
the FBI (USA) and framed by the Indonesian courts to cover up TNI
involvement in the killings (thus protecting Indonesian, TNI and US
interests). The TNI has proposed that a third infantry division be
sent to the province to monitor separatists and patrol borders.
Furthermore, the Javanese Muslim immigrant population increases by
some 5000 weekly.

The Papuan genocide is essentially about greed, corruption and
exploitation of Papuan resources. However, it is also about Islamic
imperialism and Javanese Muslim religious and racial hatred of the
predominantly Christian indigenous Papuans. Whilst the Papuan
genocide is being perpetrated by Indonesian hands, Western
democratic 'Christian' governments that promote liberty and rights
are complicit. Though they once facilitated the evangelisation of
the Papuans (one of the great mission stories of the 20th century)
they are now by their silence supporting the Papuans' annihilation,
as economic and geo-strategic interests are deemed more important
than human life or moral integrity.


* protect and strengthen Rev Sofian Yoman, amplifying his voice
not only to the ears of the world, but to its conscience.

* provide justice for Rev Ishak Onawame, Esau Onawame and Yarius
Kiwak in Cipinang Prison, Jakarata; may they be strengthened
spiritually and physically and be enabled to be a blessing to
others, even in the midst of trial.

* intervene for his people in West Papua, thwarting the projected
genocide so that his Church and its gospel message may thrive and
bring blessing and God be glorified as the faithful deliverer of
his people.

'The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He
saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to
intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him . . . From the
west, men will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of
the sun, they will revere his glory.' (From Isaiah 59:15b-19 NIV)




Since granting Papua Special Autonomy in 2001, Indonesia has ramped
up the repression and terrorisation of the mostly Christian
indigenous population. Some 5000 Javanese Muslims migrate to Papua
weekly. Church leaders such as Rev Sofian Yoman are being
increasingly intimidated. On Sunday 29 July, Indonesian security
forces threatened him at gunpoint outside the Baptist Church
service in Jayapura. On 2 September, Indonesian security agents
distributed leaflets throughout Jayapura picturing and defaming
him. Two young key members of the Maranatha Kingmi Protestant
Church in Nabire were recently brutally murdered. Christian leaders
in West Papua risk their lives to get news such as this to the
outside world. Please pray for God's intervention to thwart the
silencing of his people and the projected Papuan genocide.

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Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.