3 Apr 2006

Priest claims 10 people vanished in Papua in Indonesian military reprisals

2:13 pm on 3 April 2006

An Australian Anglican priest has told supporters of the independence movement in Indonesia's Papua province that at least ten people have disappeared in military reprisals since a violent demonstration last in Papua.

A Victoria clergyman, Reverend Peter Woods, was speaking at a Free West Papua rally in Melbourne yesterday.

Similar rallies were held in other Australian cities.

The Reverend Woods says he had fled the demonstration against the US-owned Freeport gold mine last month soon after Indonesian police and military began exploding tear gas and firing into the air.

He says he was in Papua to address church meetings, and stumbled on the demonstration, just outside the capital Jayapura.

The Reverend Woods says local leaders told him that police were killed in the ensuing riot and many other people had since disappeared in subsequent military repression.

He says eight men from the mountains of Wamena had disappeared, along with the head of university students in Puncak Jaya.

The Reverend Woods says these detainments are occurring are continuing now and people must speak up.