27 May 2013

Papua search for 30 missing amid massacre report

2:00 pm on 27 May 2013

Villagers in remote Puncak Jaya regency of Indonesia's Papua province are still searching for around thirty people missing for up to a month, amid fears they have been arrested by Indonesian Special Forces.

This comes as reports from human rights activists in the region point to an alleged mass killing by Indonesia's Kopassus military troops.

They say that in recent days at least 18 headless, mutilated or amputated bodies have been found in roadside ditches and drains in Puncak Jaya.

They've been named as victims from around the Tingginambut district where over 40 people were reported as having gone missing in April.

Local communities have expressed fear about ongoing Kopassus activities in the area, saying more killings are expected unless Jakarta pulls its troops back.

Since December, Puncak Jaya has been the focus of sweep operation by the military in its pursuit of pro-independence activists and separatist guerillas.

The operation intensified in February following the shooting deaths of eight Indonesian soldiers in the area.

The West Papua National Liberation Army led by Goliath Tabuni claimed responsibility for those killings.

However, after bodies of West Papuan farmers and activists were discovered last week, Goliath Tabuni has released a statement saying no member of his army is involved.