17 Dec 2009

Kwalik death a blow to efforts for peaceful dialogue over Papua, says OPM

3:08 pm on 17 December 2009

The international spokesman for the Free Papua Movement, the OPM, says the killing of one of their senior commanders by Indonesian security forces is a blow to efforts to promote peaceful dialogue over the Papua problem.

Kelly Kwalik died in hospital after being shot dead yesterday in a raid by security forces in the highland town of Timika.

A leading separatist commander since the 1970s, Kelly Kwalik has been linked by police to a series of deadly shootings targeting staff at the large Freeport mine near Timika in July.

However the OPM spokesman, John Ondawame, says Mr Kwalik was not responsible for the attacks because the Movement has been focussing on a non-violent approach in recent years.

"But the killing of Kelly Kwalik doesn't mean the aspiration of independence of the people of West Papua will die. Thousands of Kelly Kwaliks will emerge and the struggle for independence will continue."

John Ondawame