Four Papuans killed by crack troops. Messianic movement promises freedom for Papua

Received from Synod of Christian Evangelical Churches (GKI) in Papua, 7 July 2009
Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Clash in Kapeso leaves four Papuans dead

Following negotiations which failed to convince TPN/OPM koreri (messianic) leaders Decky Imbiri and Nella Yensenem to pull down the Morning Star flags that had been raised in April, troops of Densus 88 (the crack anti-terrorist unit) became involved in a clash with followers of these two who were armed with nothing more than bows and arrows.

This clash between forces with very disparate equipment resulted in the deaths of three Papuans, while eighteen followers of Decky escaped.

Before the Densus unit launched its attack, a Team of local leaders, including the bupati, community leaders and representatives of the GKI and many other churches, had left the coast aboard fifteen boats and sail towards Kapeso, intending to meet up with kampung residents who wanted to return home.

The Team docked 12 kms from Kapeso and waited for the people who wanted to return home. Unbeknown to the team, a speed boat with five people on board entered the Swandi River estuary which leads to Kapeso, intending to carry out traditional rites. All of a sudden, one of them, Benny Suromaja from Kosanaweja kampung was shot bead by an unidentified person who had been hiding in the nearby forest. The victim was carried back home but died later that afternoon.

After hearing all the shooting, 200 troops based nearby quickly took action. Densus 88 troops were ordered to go by police patrol boats to Kapeso where clashes had occurred between men armed with bows and arrows and heavily armed Densus 88 troops.who later said that their equipment had come from abroad.

Kapeso kampung is now occupied by security forces while the roughly one hundred inhabitants have fled to an unknown destination. Reports have been received of many more people being killed by Densus 88 troops, but as yet, the GKI has only been able to identify four of the victims by name. (Names given.)

Background

This Kapeso incident followed the arrival of an elderly woman Nella Yensenam who arrived in Kapseo on 27 November 2007. She claimed to have been ordered by God to create a Kingdom of God on Papuan soil and she anointed a local man Musa Kawena to lead the people across the Mamberamo River, renamed the River of Jordan, into the Promised Land. They set up a church where prayers were led by Nella Yensenem. Attempts by the local cleric to persuade them to leave the church were unsuccessful.

On 3 April, 18 followers of Decky Imbiri joined forces with Nella Yensenem saying that they would lead the Papuans across the Jordan. A month later, they said that they saw signs that would lead them to the United Nations in New York. These were the signs that motivated the people of Kapeso to raise flags on the Kapeso airstrip.

On 21 May, Rev AlberthYoku, the secretary of the GKI synod and other church leaders held talks with Decky Imbiri trying to convince him not to deceive the people into believing that raising the flag would mean that Papua would be free. Such efforts were unwise because people have raised the Morning Star flag on many occasions, many of whom have been killed.

This is a abridged translation of a report prepared by the GKI Church Synod in Papua and translated by TAPOL in the UK

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