Benny Mawel, Jayapura – The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has held national mourning ceremonies at the weekend for the death of Vanuatu independence campaigner Father Allen Nafuki and prayed for the Papuan people to be accepted as full members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The closing ceremonies were held in both Jayapura and at the ULMWP office in Wamena on Saturday.
"Interim President Benny Wenda announced national mourning with Vanuatu. Today, we close our mourning with our brother Vanuatu," said Markus Haluk, head of the ULMWP Office in West Papua, in his closing remarks.
The ceremony in Wamena was marked by slaughtering 6 pigs, while in Jayapura 2 pigs were slaughtered with traditional Melanesian earth oven cooking – known as "bakar batu" in West Papua and as "mumu" in other parts of Melanesia.
Haluk said that the closing of mourning also started with prayer and fasting for 9 days. The people of West Papua together with the prayer group also performed a koronka prayer in support of the forthcoming MSG meeting.
The head of the ULMWP Legislature, Edison Waromi, said that the joint prayer to close and escort the spirit of Pastor Allen Nafuki was an important part of the series of struggles of the Papuan people to be free from Indonesian colonialism.
Pastor Allen was regarded highly by the people of West Papua, as an advocate for Papuan independence with the governments of Melanesian countries throughout his life.
"Prayer and fasting are also important because the power of prayer is the power of struggle. Consistent prayer while carrying out acts of liberation will become a reality," said Waromi.
"With prayers and fasting, the Papuan people with the ULMWP will be accepted as full members of the MSG."
[This article has been translated by an Asia Pacific Report correspondent from Tabloid Jubi and is republished with permission.]