18 Dec 2012

Indonesian police shot dead two West Papuan activists

11:34 am on 18 December 2012

Indonesian police have shot dead two West Papuan activists and burned down a house in the provincial Papuan city of Wamena.

Hubertus Mabel and Natalis Alua, both members of the West Papua National Committee, or the KNBP, were shot outside a house in the village of Kurulu on Sunday morning.

The Age newspaper reports activists saying the house belonged to Mr Mabel's family and he was there to celebrate Christmas.

The paper says the latest shootings mean that so far this year 22 KNPB members have been killed; three are missing; seven have been charged with various offences and more than 200 arrested but released within three months.

After the shootings three men burned down a small wooden police post in a Wamena marketplace, an act which apparently prompted police to go to the city's Tribal Office, which is used for community meetings, and also burn it to the ground.

The paper says a police spokesman, Gede Sumerta Jaya, denies police had deliberately killed the two men but that they were shot during attempts to arrest lawbreakers.

Meanwhile, a member of the KNPB says Wamena is not the only part of Papua region currently gripped by security tensions.

Wamena continues to be the focus for Indonesia's security forces in their hunt for members of the National Committee of West Papua.

However, Yoab Syatfle, a spokesman for the group which declared a Federated Republic of West Papua at last year's Papuan People's Congress, says such events are happening across Papua.

"You know in West Papua, the situation is very, very seriously dangerous because Indonesia has built up its military in West Papua. And it's not only in Wamena where there's a dangerous situation in West Papua."

Yoab Syatfle.