Churches demand probe of shooting incidents

Churches demand probe of shooting incidents
, 18 August 2010

JAYAPURA: Local church leaders have called for an independent investigation of a series of church shootings in Puncak Jaya, Papua, that started in 2004.

“An independent team must be set up to investigate what actually happened and who was behind the incidents. The shootings have been taking place for the past six years,” Rev. Socrates Sofyan Yoman told reporters in Jayapura.

Authorities previously stated that there were suspected perpetrators or groups of perpetrators behind specific shooting incidents but stopped short of bringing suspects to justice, said Socrates, who is president of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua.

“This has raised the question of what has been actually happening. [Shootings] have taken place for years,” he said.

Other religious groups in Papua — such as the Indonesia Christian Churches (GKI) of Papua, Indonesia Bible Churches, the Kingmi Synod of Papua, the Catholic Diocese of Jayapura — have also issued statements of concern and echoed Socrates’ call for an independent investigation.

The Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua has urged the provincial council and the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) to immediately invite the Governor and police and military chiefs to explain about the violence to the public and appealed to people to remain calm.