1 Mar 2013

OPM claims responsibility for deaths of Indonesian soldiers

10:31 am on 1 March 2013

The military arm of the OPM Free West Papua Movement has claimed responsibility for the deaths of eight Indonesian soldiers and four civilians in two separate incidents last week.

The shootings, which occurred in the remote Highlands regency of Puncak Jaya, represent the most serious attacks on Indonesian security forces in Papua for years.

West Papua Media reports that a spokesman for the head of the West Papua National Liberation Army, or TPN, Goliat Tabuni, claims the shootings were carried out to assert West Papuan cultural rights to defend their customary practices against ongoing military brutality.

The spokesman says the shootings were carried out after Indonesian Kopassus special forces continued to build military posts on a local sacred Papuan burial site, despite being requested not to by both community representatives emissaries from the TPN.

The TPN claims to own the land where the military was building.