On 2nd December 2018, 24 Indonesian road construction workers were killed in the Nduga Regency of West Papua. The West Papua Liberation Army (TPNPB), through their spokesperson, later claimed responsibility over the attacks on knowledge that the workers were members of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) engineering detachment. According to ULMWP Secretary Rex Rumakiek, the TPNPB has previously warned against the granting of the Trans-Papua road and bridge project to the TNI two years back only to be ignored by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
The TNI has since declared the whole district an "Area of Military Operation" which meant intensified offensives including aerial bombings of villages in Nduga. On the same month, it was reported that the TNI has dropped chemical weapons on Papua along with a variety of high explosive and shrapnel. All these incidents were referred to by the TNI as “fake news” and “cheap propaganda” by so-called separatist movements.
These are indeed challenging times for the people of Nduga, and the entire West Papua. We urgently call for international solidarity from our friends and allies by condemning the air strikes and all forms of military aggression in West Papua.
We also demand that the TNI and the Indonesian Government allow independent probers to conduct an impartial and truthful inquiry on the TNI’s alleged use of banned chemical weapons and other human rights violations committed against civilians. We call on the Government to stop the blockade on communications, food, and other aid needed by the displaced and traumatized residents.
At the same time, we call on our fellow West Papua supporters and human rights advocates to remain vigilant on actors that may use these incidents as pretexts for military intervention that can only fuel the conflict. Let us remain steadfast on our call for just and lasting peace!
Stop the attacks! Pull-out Indonesian troops from Nduga and West Papua!
Uphold Papuans’ right to self-determination! Papua Merdeka!
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