URGENT STATEMENT-More West Papuans shot dead by the Indonesian military today

Benny Wenda has released this urgent statement after Indonesian soldiers shot dead 2 West Papuans and seriously injured 4 others in Timika today. 

Family members grieving over the bodies of 2 West Papuans murdered by the Indonesian military today
Family members grieving over the bodies of Julian Okoare and Emmanuel Mairimau, shot dead by Indonesian soldiers in West Papua today

Today was another day of tragedy for West Papuans as 2 more innocent West Papuan people were brutally murdered and 4 more (including children) shot by the Indonesian military outside a church in the town of Timika.

Unconfirmed reports state that in West Papua today, members of the Indonesian military burst into a local church in the town of Timika and when they were told to leave they opened fire, killing 2 people, Julian Okoare (18 years) and Emanuel Mairimau (23 years). Up to 4 more West Papuans were also shot and some of them are in critical condition in hospital. Their names are: Martinus Imaputa (17) Thomas Apoka (16) Marinus Apokapo (24) and Moses Imipu (23).

Family members grieving over the bodies of Julian Okoare and Emmanuel Mairimau, shot dead by Indonesian soldiers in West Papua today

This is another case of brutal and bloody murder of innocent West Papuans by the Indonesian military. My people are still mourning the tragic deaths of the Oksibil plane crash and the murder of Fredi Wenda on 16th August. Now as we are still mourning, 6 more innocent people have been shot for no reason other than being Papuan. This has been a truly terrible month for West Papua.

It brings me so much pain to see my people being killed all the time at the hands of the Indonesian state. The murders today are just like the Paniai massacre of children last year; we West Papuans are being killed as part of the ongoing systematic genocide against us.

The Indonesian military treat West Papua like a hunting ground and have turned what was a land of peace into a land of bloodshed and killing fields. Already they are trying to cover up the truth behind the murders today and are now patrolling the hospital to stop the survivors from being interviewed. They are also trying to justify the violence by claiming that the soldiers were “drunk” but this is no excuse and there can be no excuse for the horrific killings of more innocent people in West Papua.

We West Papuans want to tell our story, every West Papuan knows that their life is always in danger and that they too could be the next victims of this brutal genocide.

We are not being killed for what we have done, we are being killed for who we are. We are Papuans.

The Indonesian government sees us as obstacles in their way to exploiting our natural resources and so we West Papuans are killed like animals in order for them to continue occupying our nation.

This killing has gone on unabated and it has been widely forgotten about since West Papua was illegally occupied in what we West Papuan call the 1969 “Act of NO Choice”. The reason that West Papuans like Julian Okoare, Emmanuel Mairimau and the more than 500,000 others have been killed is because West Papua remains under illegal Indonesian occupation and so we are still treated like colonial slaves.

We West Papuans are campaigning night and day for freedom from this colonial rule and recently we succeeded in being granted membership of the international Melanesian Spearhead Group. Now we are also seeking membership of the Pacific Islands Forum, to seek our right to come back as Pacific Islanders to our Greater Pacific Family. I therefore ask our dear family at the Pacific Islands Forum to please look at the continuing atrocities still being committed against Pacific Islanders in West Papua, right now in the 21st Century.

One of the victims of the atrocity in hospital while the Indonesian authorities prevent the truth being told
One of the victims of the atrocity in hospital while the Indonesian authorities are still trying to control any information getting out

I am also appealing to everyone around the world to please look to the suffering of my people and our urgent cries for freedom.
The brothers who died in West Papua today were killed in cold blood but they did not die in vain.

They are some of the hundreds of thousands of innocent people who have been killed in the occupation of West Papua and we West Papuans will remember their names forever as we campaign for the long overdue full freedom of our country.

I would like to thank everyone around the world for all their sympathy and support for my people and the struggle for freedom.

May Julian Okoare, Emmanuel Mairimau and all those who have died Rest in Peace. One day full peace and full freedom will come to West Papua at last.

Benny Wenda
West Papuan Independence Leader
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)