26 Jun 2002

Another member of the Papua Presidium Council dead

10:20 am on 26 June 2002

Another member of the Papua Presidium Council has died in Indonesia in suspicious circumstances.

Yafet Yelemaken, who was a senior chief in the Baliem Valley in the highlands, was found dead at his home a day after attending a dinner at the Wamena Tribal Council which was protected by the Kopassus elite force.

The human rights organisation, Els-ham says it is believed that Chief Yafet was poisoned.

Theo Sitokadana of Els-ham says the local hospital claims Chief Yafet died from a heart attack.

"According to the medical officials in Wamena, he was heart sick. The family believe that he was poisoned by Indonesian military together with the local people."

Theo Sitokadana says no autopsy was performed because the family refused to have one.

Chief Yafet had been held for eight months after being found guilty of inciting an anti-Indonesian riot in Wamena in October 2000.

Last November, another Presidium member, Theys Eluay, was killed after attending a function at the Kopassus base near jayapura.