15 Dec 2011

More violence in Indonesia's Papua raises church's fears

7:25 pm on 15 December 2011

The Papua region's largest indigenous church has voiced concern at the surge of activity in the Paniai Regency by Indonesia's paramilitary police.

In recent weeks, hundreds of extra officers have been deployed to the area in what Indonesian officials have indicated is a hunt for members of the OPM Free West Papua Movement.

The chairman of the Synod of the KINGMI Evangelical Church, Dr Benny Giay, says the current military sweep operation through Paniai villages has terrorised local Papuans, many of whom have fled to the bush.

"They say they have to wipe them out, to attack the area because the area is occupied by the separatists, according to the Indonesian security officials."

Dr Benny Giay says that in Paniai regency around thirty Papuans died in August from starvation after fleeing to the bush following the last big security forces sweep.