30 Dec 2006

Indonesian military manipulating killings in Papua, says church leader

10:29 am on 30 December 2006

A church leader in Indonesia's Papua province says the Indonesian military is engineering the deaths of its own officers to look like separatist attacks by the Free Papua Movement or OPM.

The Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman, who heads the Communion of Baptist churches in Papua, has warned of an Indonesian military build-up in Bolakme, West of Wamena near Mulia, in the next few days.

Elsham, the Papua-based Human Right organisation, also holds grave concerns for the civilian population if more troops move in amid a recent series of tensions in the area.

OPM activists of the Goliat Tabuni tribes in the Punjak Jaya region have been raising the banned Morning Star flag in acts of defiance against Indonesian rule.

But Reverend Yoman denies reports that Goliat Tabuni members killed two Indonesian military officers near Mulia earlier this month.

"This is only military manipulation. It's not the OPM who killed these military members - no it's the military itself, they kill their own people... The Indonesian military, they want to justify more troops coming into West Papua."

The Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman.