30 Jul 2007

Indonesian security forces accused of trying to break Papuan Baptist church

3:29 pm on 30 July 2007

A West Papua Baptist leader says Indonesian security forces are trying to destabilise his church.

The Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman, who is also a human rights advocate in the province, says he was threatened at gunpoint by an Indonesian police officer after yesterday's mass at his church in Jayapura.

The Reverend Yoman says Indonesian intelligence and police officers are infiltrating his church ranks and have even dominated recent church meetings.

He has accused pastors and members of his own church of collaborating with the Indonesian security forces in a campaign to silence critics of Indonesian rule in Papua.

"Long time, they collaborate with the TNI and Intelligence - they want to crack down [on] the church because the church is the strong one which protects the people here. They want to cut down the Baptist Church in West Papua. It's an effective way: how do they want to make us [sic] in conflict, and destabilise the church body."

The Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman