Indonesia: army massacre in West Papua

The Indonesian army and police have killed three people, burned down houses, killed pigs and destroyed crops, in the latest in a series of attacks against tribal villages in the Papuan highlands. One of those killed was a child. The Indonesian army frequently uses the pretext of searching for members of the Free Papua separatist movement to attack and intimidate the highland people. This latest assault focused on a village called Nggweyage. Besides the child, the village leader and an elder were also killed. Survival International has protested to the Indonesian government at this latest atrocity. (Survival International, March 30)

The massacre has received virtually no media coverage, despite the fact that Indonesia is currently in the news due to the March 28 earthquake that left some 500 dead in Sumatra. Aftershocks continue to rock the region, destroying homes. The December tsunami that devastated Sumatra as well as parts of India, Thailand and other nations, was explicitly exploited by national governments to expropriate indigenous tribal peoples of their lands—but indigenous struggles in the region remain invisible to the world media. This latest massacre also comes just as the US State Department is calling for restoration of US military ties with Indonesia.

See our last post on Indonesia.