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Indonesia accused of burning down school and hospital in West Papua

INDONESIAN armed forces were accused of burning down a school and a hospital during military operations in the West Papuan district of Oksibil on Monday.

Photos provided by the Free West Papua Campaign show the buildings on fire.

The liberation group responded by demanding an end to Jakarta’s military offensive.

“This action is a crime and needs to be stopped,” it said, describing the attacks as horrifying.

Jakarta stepped up its military operations in West Papua, its most easterly region, in April, declaring all organisations campaigning for independence to be terrorists. It claimed the troop mobilisation was necessary after the killing of a government intelligence chief who was directing operations in West Papua.

Indonesian parliamentary speaker Bambang Soesatyo provoked outrage when he urged the government to crush the West Papuan rebellion. “Destroy them first. We will discuss human rights matters later,” he said in an inflammatory statement.

Indonesia annexed West Papua under 1969’s so-called Act of Free Choice, a referendum among just over 1,000 people selected by the military, many at gunpoint.

Some 500,000 West Papuans have been killed since the annexation. Liberation leader Benny Wenda has accused Indonesia of a genocide and is demanding a referendum on the issue of independence.

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