Indonesia: Christian Pastor murdered in Papua province
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A Christian pastor was among ten people murdered by separatist gunmen in Indonesia’s Papua province on July 16, the Christian Post (CP) reports. The West Papua National Liberation Army, or TPNPB, the military wing of Papua’s main separatist group, claimed responsibility for the killings.
Pastor Eliaser Baner was killed while traveling to a church conference in a truck with nine traders who were taking goods to a remote highland area of Papua province, CP reports. The truck was ambushed by TPNPB militants who opened fire on the travelers, killing 10 and wounding two others.
Claiming responsibility for the mass murder, the TPNPB said the travelers were government spies pretending to be tradesmen, the Jakarta Post reportedly stated last week.
“We shot 11 [Indonesian] people, and a Papuan because he took our pictures and fought back when the TPNPB questioned him,” the group was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Although Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua is mainly Christian, violent attacks have been prevalent since its annexation by Indonesia in the 1960s. Separatists have waged war against security forces, causing immense conflict and displacement of civilians,” International Christian Concern (ICC) said in a report about the murder of Pastor Baner.
In a statement responding to Pastor Baner’s death, Rev. Henrek Lokra, executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Desk at the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, called on Jakarta to “ form an independent investigation team to … [look] into the killings of civilians.” ICC said.
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