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07/21/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – On July 16, 20 gunmen approached a truck in Papua, Indonesia, and opened fire on passengers inside.

The leader of the attack, Egianus Kogoya, and his gang killed ten passengers in total. Those onboard the truck included traders transporting goods to another village and a Christian pastor, Eliaser Baner, who was on his way to a church conference. Egianus Kogoya is a leader in the West Papuan Liberation Army, and he is responsible for several violent attacks in the region.

In response to this tragedy, Reverend Henrek Lokra, executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Desk at the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, urged the “government to form an independent investigation team to…[look] into the killings of civilians.

Although Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua is mainly Christian, violent attacks have been prevalent since its annexation by Indonesia in the 1960s. Separatists have waged war against security forces, causing immense conflict and displacement of civilians. Tension has recently escalated as the government plans “to divide the region further from two to six provinces,” signaling a threat to independence for civilians.

According to the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, 58 incidents, largely shootings involving soldiers and civilians in Papua between 2017-2021, were recorded. 69 civilian deaths and 135 injuries were reported.

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