20 Jun 2013

Papuan man says he witnessed the Indonesian military slaughter 40 people

5:12 pm on 20 June 2013

A man in Indonesia's Papua province says he is currently on the run from the military after witnessing a massacre of Papuans reported last month.

Several reports emerged in May of a slaughter of 40 people in the remote area of Tingginambut, close to the Puncak Jaya mountain, but so far very little evidence has emerged.

The witness says he hid up in the mountain for weeks after seeing the military kill people in villages in anger after not being able to find a wanted Papuan activist.

He says police know about the incident but haven't taken any action.

He spoke to Alex Perrottet.

MAN: The people were killed, about 40 people, 40 people killed. And we found them in different places.

ALEX PERROTTET: And have you yourself seen the bodies, have you?

MAN: Yeah we found the bodies. Some of them under the bridge, they kill and then they throw next to the bridge, and then some of them under the rock. And we found in different places.

AP: What did you do with the bodies when you found them?

MAN: We tried to, want to burn them, but army, heavy army, they tried looking for us and now we are hide in the jungle.

AP: And do you know the victims, the people who were killed, do you know some of them personally?

MAN: Yes and I have their names and also their picture.

AP: And is anyone going to go back and try to get the bodies or not?

MAN: Yes, but for today no.

AP: Have you told the police?

MAN: Yeah, but I can't go to the city. In Wamena it's OK, but here it's a little bit... They are looking for us and they already know us and I try to kind of hiding.

AP: Do you know whether any police know about this?

MAN: Yeah, police knows. Police know about this, but they just leave.

AP: How do you know that the military killed the 40 people? Did you see them do it?

MAN: Yeah. We were together, the victims we were together. And then they just go and then kill the people, they murdered them. And then we ran and climbed and went up to the mountain.

AP: You were hiding and watching, were you?

MAN: Yeah, I was hiding and watching them and I took some photos and also some video.

AP: And how did you feel?

MAN: I almost died, because I feel scared and because my friends, some they killed. We were together, we eat food together and they were killed by the military. And now I'm very upset and I'm trying to get free, free to live, but I am hiding in the jungle and I am not free.