The Guardian November 12, 2003


West Papuan leader murdered

There are reports from Indonesian-occupied (West) Papua of the 
murder of West Papuan Independence leader Yustinus Murib and at 
least nine of his clan by Indonesian forces. Murib was a regional 
commander of the Papuan Liberation Army, or OPM.

Last month Murib sent a letter to heads of state and the United 
Nations calling for a sovereign country to act as mediator 
between President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the West Papuan 
independence movement.

Murib, along with Petrus Tabuni and other OPM faction leaders, 
had called for a peaceful dialogue with Jakarta to discuss the 
political status of Papua. Murib's letter, as well as film of an 
emotional appeal to the international community from Tabuni, was 
smuggled out of Papua and recentlly broadcast on the ABC Dateline 
program.

Murib was filmed reading the letter surrounded by his supporters 
in the remains of a village which was among 11 destroyed earlier 
this year by Kopassus forces in an operation that displaced over 
1000 civilians and left more than 20 dead.

There are also reports that at least 11,000 Indonesian troops 
have been deployed to Papua in recent months, leading to 
speculation of an imminent large-scale military operation.

Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) in 
Sydney said, "the Australian Government should be urging the 
Indonesian Government to support and work with the civil society 
organisations and the OPM in West Papua who are trying to create 
a Zone of Peace as a way forward for West Papua".

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