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Papau, Indonesia: Crisis in Puncak Jaya
By Elizabeth Kendal
2/23/07 Indonesia (ANS) — In 1961 Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, invaded the sparsely populated, resource-rich, former Dutch New Guinea colony, now renamed Papua. In 1969 Western states with political and economic agendas facilitated its annexation by Indonesia .
To ‘Javanise’ and Islamise Papua, Jakarta promotes the mass migration of Javanese Muslims into Papua. It has also strategically divided Papua into three provinces so that today Javanese Muslims are the majority in the majority of provinces.Jakarta maintains an enormous military presence in Papua under the pretext of a ‘separatist and terrorist threat’. The Indonesian military (TNI) invests in Papuan assets such as the Freeport mine and the sandalwood industry. That means the TNI has financial reasons – as distinct from any genuine security concerns – for wanting to stay engaged in Papua. Conflict and unrest work to the TNI’s advantage because it wants to retain its role in domestic security and also it earns extra cash through private deals to secure ‘protection’. Furthermore the military is mostly Javanese Muslim and strong overtones of racial and religious hatred towards the Melanesian and mostly Christian Papuans is clearly evident.
The incident that triggered the recent TNI offensive in Puncak Jaya is highly suspicious and many experienced observers consider it was set up by the TNI itself. On 8 December 2006 two Indonesian soldiers were killed after a banned Papuan Morning Star flag was raised on Kumipaga Hill in Puncak Jaya. Exactly what transpired is not clear, but there are several signs pointing to manipulation.

For at least a decade the TNI has been known to create fake OPM forces. (The OPM is the primitive, not greatly threatening Papuan resistance movement.) TNI soldiers entice illiterate, uneducated village men to be proud ‘OPM’ warriors! They arm these fake OPM and send them off to commit crimes and provocation that then give grounds for the military to retaliate against the ‘separatist and terrorist threat’. The flag raised on Kumipaga Hill was not a small hand-made one but a full-sized flag, and the soldiers who interrupted the event were not speared but shot with a TNI-issue M16 semi-automatic rifle. The TNI, the mobile brigade police and intelligence operatives were deployed to Pancuk Jaya on 24 December 2006.

Since this military offensive started an estimated 5000 Papuan villagers have been forced to flee their homes, gardens and livestock. The military has since occupied some twenty vacated villages. It is the wet season and the displaced, terrorised Papuan families are walking over mountainous terrain and through jungles without food, shelter or medical care. Some are reported to have died. There is great concern another TNI-engineered humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the highlands of Papua.

The authorities are engaged in a covert genocide of the indigenous, predominantly Christian Melanesian Papuans. Meanwhile, countries that could have influence and leverage with Jakarta won’t interfere as they have signed agreements not to involve themselves in Indonesia ‘s ‘domestic’ affairs.


  • sustain, protect and build his Church and hear the cries of the afflicted in Papua as the tides of Islam and racist, cultural imperialism threaten to sweep over them.

  • act on behalf of his Church and the oppressed Papuans in the face of the immoral indifference and expediency of the world’s earthly powers.

‘The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one, and he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.’ (Isaiah 59:15b,16 NIV)

AND ESPECIALLY PRAY that the tension, pain, fear and mistrust that have become part of the Javanese-Papuan relationship will have no hold over the Indonesian Church . May the Holy Spirit fill all the followers of Jesus Christ with an overwhelming sense of their oneness and give them a divine sensitivity, empathy and understanding so they may extend brotherly love across racial lines.