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Wamena Flares Up
Eight Dead and Two Critically Wounded

5 November 2003

Still reeling from the surprise of the attack at Sugapa (Paniai Regency), the regency of Wamena has seen fresh bloodshed today.

The Indonesian military troops (TNI-AD) stationed in the village of Tiluk Manda, Bolakme District, killed eight people and wounded two others in an ambush today (5/10). Tiluk Manda is about 20 kilometers west of the town of Wamena.

The Elsham Contact Post in Wamena received a report from a courier which said that the ambush was conducted on the basis of an intelligence report that had been received by the Wamena military command (Kodim Wamena). This intelligence report stated that all of Yustinus Murip's TPN/OPM troops were at the village of Tiluk Manda. On the basis of that report the Indonesian military command in Wamena sent two personnel trucks to the location where they conducted a surprise ambush.

There is not yet a clear report that details the motivation for this shooting, because the military has blocked off the area. Pastor Andi Duwiri, who happened to be at the Wamena hospital, said that the solders on guard allowed him to see the bodies of the eight people who have been killed.

The bodies of the eight men, reports Duwiri, were riddled with bullet wounds. These bodies are laying naked in the Intensive Care Unit. One of the soldiers at the hospital commented that these men were shot because they had planned to disturb the town of Wamena during the instatement of David Huby, who was recently reappointed as the Regent of Wamena. The reappointment of David Huby, who has previously served as the Regent of Wamena, has been opposed by a coalition of politicians with backing from many sectors of society.

Currently the situation in Wamena is reported to be calm.

Petrus Tabuni, who is commander of the TPN/OPM guerillas stationed in the Bolakme area, sent a letter to Indonesian President Megawati at the end of September 2003. In this letter Tabuni urged the President to be open to dialogue with the Papuan people mediated by a neutral country or the UN. This group of the TPN/OPM supports the movement to make Papua into a Zone of Peace. This message was delivered by Petrus Tabuni as he returned a pistol owned by the Indonesian military commander in Karubaga (Danramil Karubaga) to the Indonesian military troops stationed in Bolakme.


Elsham News Service

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