22 Dec 2009

Hundreds attend Papuan separatist leader's funeral in Timika

9:22 pm on 22 December 2009

An estimated 500 Papuans have attended a funeral for the slain Papuan separatist leader kelly Kwalik who was shot in a police raid in Timika in the Indonesian province of Papua last week

The Papuans, many of them from Kelly Kwalik's Amungme tribe, followed the casket of the senior Free Papua Movement OPM commander through the streets of Timika to his grave beside a local church.

Kwalik's death has triggered days of anti-Indonesian protests and calls for self-determination for Papuans.

Anger has also been directed at US miner Freeport McMoRan, which operates a huge gold and copper mine north of Timika that has long been at the centre of allegations of rights abuses against ordinary Papuans.

Kwalik, who was aged around 60 when he died after spending 30 years fighting for Papuan independence, claimed to have been dispossessed by the mine and was accused of several deadly ambushes against Freeport workers.

Kwalik's casket was draped in the outlawed "Morning Star" flag of Papuan independence.

Some 800 people has earlier attended a funeral mass on Monday but disagreements among tribal leaders delayed the burial.