Jayapura, Jubi – The Papuan Council of Churches has drawn attention to the recent attack on the Kingmi Church Office in Keneyam, Nduga Regency on September 16, 2023.
Benny Giay, the Council's Moderator, conveyed his sentiments regarding the government's labeling of the church as a supporter of The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB). He expressed that the church has now become a target, and he fears that after the Kingmi Church, another church denomination in Papua may be next.
Giay explained that the motive behind this attack mirrors the recurring events in Papua, wherein there are underlying interests related to the region's abundant natural resources. The church's commitment to its service in the region continues to pose a challenge for those behind such attacks.
He cited previous incidents, including a photo from June 13, 2022, showing Indonesian Military (TNI) members pointing their weapons at the Kingmi Church signboard in Nduga. Back in March 2011, the Commander of XVII Cenderawasih Military Command issued a confidential document accusing the Kingmi synod of supporting the separatist movement.
Giay mentioned that derogatory language, such as "devil's church," is used in reference to the church, indicating its perceived hindrance to the ambitions of certain parties in the region.
Additionally, Giay cited the findings of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), which identified four root causes driving the ongoing Papuan conflict: racism; the failure in fulfilling the welfare of the Papuan people, including their education, healthcare, and economy; differences in historical perspectives regarding Papua's integration into Indonesia; and the lack of accountability for those involved in human rights violations, including the sale of weapons and ammunition that has become increasingly prevalent over the past five years.
Anum Siregar, the Director of the Democracy Alliance for Papua, said that peace in the region cannot be achieved as long as these underlying conflict drivers persist. She further asserted that those trading in weapons and ammunition with TPNPB would continue to scapegoat innocent parties in the region, as demonstrated by the recent incident involving the Kingmi Church. (*)