‘Don’t be angry with us’ say Papuan churches in open letter

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Rev Socratez Yoman
Rev Dr Socratez Yoman ... "West Papua is a market for conflict and violence created by criminal groups of the Indonesian National Army." Image: Kaonaknen Photo

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

The Alliance of West Papuan Baptist Churches has condemned Monday’s attack which killed a New Zealander and wounded two other workers at the Freeport gold and copper mine.

In an open letter from “the people of West Papua” to the family of Graeme Thomas Wall, the alliance appealed yesterday to “not be angry and hate people of West Papua”.

Alliance president Rev Dr Socratez S. Yoman, who has visited New Zealand on several occasions, said “we also from 1961 to 2020 became victims of atrocities and brutality from the Indonesian Army and National Police for the sake of gold and dollars from Freeport for 58 years”.

READ MORE: Background on the West Papuan conflict, social justice

The open letter said:

Dear Beloved
Brothers and Sisters
Graeme Thomas Wall family
In New Zealand.


- Partner -

Kia Ora,

The Wall family who are grieving, we also share the sadness and deep sorrow with you.

We strongly condemn the perpetrators of crimes who sacrificed the late Graeme Thomas Wall and injured two Indonesian citizens on Monday, 30 March 2020 in Kuala Kencana, Timika, West Papua.

We humbly request that the family of the late Graeme Thomas Wall not be angry and hate people of West Papua. Because we also from 1961 to 2020 became victims of atrocities and brutality from the Indonesian Army and National Police for the sake of gold and dollars from Freeport for 58 years.

Dear Wall family, this cruelty and crime is repeated again as happened 18 years ago on Saturday, August 31, 2002 at Mile 62-63 Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) shot dead 2 American citizens, namely Leon Edwin Burgon (71), Ricky Lynn Spier (41) and 1 Indonesian citizen, Bambang Riswanto.

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, the family of the late Graeme, we know together and it is not a secret that the interests of robbing and stealing gold and dollars in Freeport Tembagapura are the Indonesian government, the Army and the Indonesian National Police.

The Free Papua Movement since the 1960s has fought for self-determination over our ancestral land or Free West Papua and has never fought to shoot civilians, set fire to school buildings and drive out local residents.

We know together that West Papua is a market for conflict and violence created by criminal groups of the Indonesian National Army who occupy and colonise the people of Papua and that they have economic, gold and dollar interests.

At the end of this letter, I want to convey to the family of the late Graeme Thomas Wall, the perpetrators of the shooting [are] not the OPM. Because the Kuala Kencana region is a super priority level of security for Indonesia’s national security.

Our prayers and hopes [are that] the late Graeme Thomas Wall family gets strength from the Lord Jesus Christ and comfort from the Holy Spirit.

Please accept our warm greetings from West Papua.

Rev. Dr. Socratez S. Yoman
President of the Alliance of West Papuan Baptist Churches
Ita Wakhu Purom
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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1 COMMENT

  1. this guy was over there to colonise and plunder their resources. NZ should apologise to them for supporting Indonesian genocide for decades.

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