West Papua: Police Surrounds Indigenous Church

West Papua: Police Surrounds Indigenous Church

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May 18, 2007

On May 15, Indonesian Police occupied the Kingmi Church in the capital of Papua province, Jayapura.

From Survival International – Six police trucks and a water canon were stationed outside the church offices… Paramilitary police armed with rifles occupied the roof of the building, and more than 50 policemen were positioned outside.

Following the police action, 200 members of the Kingmi Church protested outside the headquarters, blocking one lane of traffic.

[The occupation seems to have been an entirely political move, as] The Kingmi church recently broke away from the Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII, The Tabernacle Bible Church of Indonesia) and returned to its original self-governing status. The police have accused the Kingmi Church of supporting the Papuan independence movement. (source)

Benny Giay, the Justice and Peace Secretariat Catholic of the Diocese in Jayapur says the church members want their property back, because church is the only institution Papuans have left which Jakarta doesn’t control.

From EaglesNest, May 15 – The Police occupation of the Synod is clearly in violation of the court decision of 30 April 2007. This Indonesian court decision clearly recognised the right of the Kingmi church to exist and maintain its property and disallowed the GKII action to seize the property.

Contacts say that the Police administration want to portray of the issue as an ‘internal church dispute’. It is believe the police motivation is to obscure their motives to disrupt the Kingmi Church. The Police actions appears to be politically motivated and is a attempt to stop the emergence of the Kingmi Church as large independent West Papuan organisation.

Related to this is Police accusations that the Kingmi Church of being the Church of the OPM. (The OPM or Free Papua Movement is the name of the banned West Papuan liberation struggle.)

Many members of the Kingmi church are involved in the campaign for peace & justice in West Papua. (source)

Occupation of the Church was attempted just a few months ago:

From WestPapua.ca, January 1st – Rev Benny Giay & Rev Noakh Nawipa are accused by Indonesian Police of cooperating in an armed attack, close to the Freeport gold & copper mine in August 2002, which resulted in the deaths of two U.S and one Indonesian teacher.

Rev. Benny Giay and Rev Noakh Nawipa vigorously deny all the accusations and insist that they are being targeted because their nonviolent work for justice and peace in West Papua.

Benny giay said today, “ This action is a strategy by Indonesian security forces to use the church of Indonesian to overturn the right of the Kingmi Church to maintain an independent Synod in West Papua.

Rev Benny Giay said today “The victims of Indonesian brutality are the members of the church. The church has the right to stand up for the rights of the people. It is an attack on the institution and legitimate work of the Kingmi Church itself.”

Read the full story, along with background at westpapua.ca

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