I am heartbroken to hear that nine West Papuans have been murdered by Indonesian security forces after unrest in Wamena, my hometown. The shootings occurred following the abduction of a Papuan child, which saw conflict break out between the community and colonial forces. Apart from the nine dead, seventeen others have been shot. On behalf of the ULMWP Executive, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and am praying for the speedy recovery of the wounded. 

This is only the latest in a long line of Indonesian massacres in West Papua. After Bloody Paniai in 2014, Bloody Abepura in 2000, and Bloody Wamena in 2003, we have now seen a new ‘Bloody Wamena’ in 2023. When will the world say ‘enough’? Where are the Pacific and Melanesian leaders? Over 500,000 of us have been killed since they invaded our lands. We are victims of a genocide. The story of Indonesian rule over West Papua is told in the blood of its indigenous people. 

Words of condemnation are not enough. Without real action, Indonesia will continue to act with total impunity in West Papua. They have demonstrated over and over that we are not safe under their rule. The world must intervene: we urgently need the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as Indonesia vowed to facilitate in 2018.

This is not just my demand, but the demand of over 80 states, including the members of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States, Spain, Netherlands, and the EU Commission. If Indonesia continues to employ delaying tactics, the international community must compel them to allow the UN in. There can be no more excuses. 

The only way to stop this bloodshed is to for Indonesia withdraw their troops and end their brutal occupation. So-called ‘Special Autonomy’ has only brought more killing. What kind of autonomy do we have if Indonesian soldiers can murder children in Paniai, only for Indonesian courts to acquit them eight years later? The only real autonomy that exists is the autonomy of Indonesian soldiers to murder us in cold blood. The only real justice will come through liberation. 

The details of the known dead are as follows:  

  • Ramot Siagian, 28, male, Batak tribe (Machete wound in back of the head, arrow wound in back).
  • Albert Sitorus, 26, male, Batak tribe (Machete wound in back of the head, arrow wound in back).
  • Stepanus Wenda, male (Village Head) in the Kelokbeam district, Lani Jaya district, gunshot to stomach.
  • Alfredo Elopete, male, gunshot wound to the neck.
  • Korwa Wanimbo, male, gunshot wound to back.
  • Tinus Yelipele, gunshot wound to right thigh.`
  • Temias Pokneagge, male.
  • Vicky Kogoya, gunshot wound to armpit.

Benny Wenda
ULMWP Provisional Government