Benny Wenda: Indonesia killing children in Intan Jaya

April 9, 2024

I am heartbroken to learn of the shooting of two children by Indonesian security forces in Intan Jaya. West Papua is becoming a killing field. We need a UN visit now.

The children shot were a pair of siblings, ⁠Nepina Duwitau, 6, and Nardo Duwitau, 12. Nardo was murdered, while Nepina is currently in hospital in a coma. Time and time again, Indonesia have shown they will target children, the new generation of West Papuans.

It was only last September that five Papuan teenagers were massacred while fishing in a Yahukimo river. In November, 15-year-old Mekelon Sondegau was beaten and tortured during a military raid on his village. The previous November, three young children were tortured by soldiers who accused them of stealing a bird – punched, kicked and whipped with an iron wire for three hours. We are still awaiting justice for the four Papuan children murdered during ‘Bloody Paniai’ in 2014, and the three school children killed by a military death squad in December 2020. The examples are endless; every week we hear of another child being tortured, arrested, murdered. Indonesia is killing Papuan children with impunity – and the world is letting them get away with it. 

Since the current conflict began in Gaza following the October 7th attack, Indonesia has become one of Israel’s strongest critics. Foreign Minister Marsudi has accused Israel of crimes against humanity, while Jokowi appealed to the US to do more to prevent deaths in Gaza. 

This hypocrisy is incredible. Indonesia is committing genocide in West Papua while opposing it in Gaza. They are perpetrating a military occupation in West Papua while condemning it in the West Bank. 

Alongside the children killed and shot in Intan Jaya, Indonesia has killed another Papuan, Ananias Mandacan, in Manokwari. Mandacan was slashed and murdered by the Indonesian military on April 3rd. Security forces also violently repressed a demonstration in Nabire today, April 8th.

Even after the international outcry against the torture of Defianus Kogoya, Indonesia continues its military brutality in West Papua. This should be a lesson to the world – Indonesia will not stop until they are forced to by international pressure. Our supporters around the world must intensify their efforts for a UN visit and full membership of the MSG. A UN visit will expose Indonesia’s crimes to the world, while MSG full membership will give us a platform to defend our identity as a Melanesian people.

We continue to work to reinstate our sovereignty. Only in a free West Papua will our children be safe from Indonesian slaughter.

Benny Wenda

 Nepina Duwitau
Aftermath of protest in Nabire
 Ananias Mandacan