30 Dec 2002

Wife of human rights activist wounded during PNG border shooting

6:22 pm on 30 December 2002

The Papuan human rights group Els-ham has asked the Indonesian government to provide protection for its activists and relatives after the family of its director John Bonay was shot at on Christmas Eve.

Mr Bonay's wife, son and relative were shot in the legs when their vehicle was ambushed by gunmen at a checkpoint on the Indonesian side of its shared border with Papua New Guinea.

Reports from Papua say that Elsye Bonay and Yeni Merautje were taken to an Indonesian army hospital and are reported to be in serious condition and that one of Bonay's children, who witnessed the attack, is under military protection.

They report that the victims were part of a group of eight passengers travelling to Papua New Guinea and that Mr Bonay was not in the vehicle at the time of the ambush.

Els-ham's acting director, Aloysius Renwarin claims that the shooting was linked to Mr Bonay's accusation of the Indonesian military being behind the Freeport mine ambush which killed two Americans and an Indonesian in August.

Mr Renwarin says prior to the shooting, Mr Bonay was threatened, his residential phone line cut and car tyres flattened.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian military says it believes that the suspected attack against Mr Bonay's family was carried out by separatist rebels.