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".