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Wenda issues warning to world ahead of impending massacre

WEST PAPUAN independence leader Benny Wenda issued an urgent warning to the world today, fearing an imminent slaughter by Indonesian forces. 

He said that hundreds of soldiers had mobilised in the area, the biggest operation in decades, and that the internet had been cut off as villagers fleed — an ominous sign that atrocities were to be committed. 

“This looks like it will be the biggest military operation in West Papua since the late 1970s,” Mr Wenda said. “The Jala Mangkara Detachment (Denjaka) — elite troops of the Indonesian navy — are being deployed. 

“I myself witnessed the consequences of these military operations when I was a child, seeing my village bombed and my family killed. I had to flee and live in the bush for six years. It makes my heart cry that this is about to happen to so many more of my people.”

Mr Wenda was elected interim president of a provisional West Papuan government in December last year and has reiterated his desire to sit down with Indonesian President Joko Widodo for peace talks. 

But the Indonesian leader has ignored Mr Wenda’s offer and last week ordered a crackdown in West Papua after the killing of intelligence chief Brigadier General I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, before branding the resistance movement terrorists. 

Mr Wenda rejects the label and says that the West Papuan army are defending their land against an illegal occupier and have little knowledge of the outside world. 

“They are fighting barefoot to defend their people against a modern military. A few hundred of them face an army of over 20,000 troops, including D88, trained to kill my people for years by the West,” he said. 

Mr Wenda said that 500,000 had been killed since the 1969 annexation of West Papua by Indonesia through the Act of Free Choice, when just over 1,000 were handpicked and voted at gunpoint to ratify the occupation. 

“We are seeing a genocide in motion,” the interim president said as he issued an appeal to world bodies including the United Nations to prevent the impending massacre. 

“This is my cry to the world, to the UN, to the Pacific Islands Forum, to Melanesian leaders, to the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and to the UK, Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and US governments. 

“We are about to witness another massacre in West Papua. You have the power to intervene and help us find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” he said. 

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