I thought there would be a lot of mentions of the West Papuan asylum seekers on blogs around the place, but I haven’t been able to find much. However, following on from my previous post, I have been receiving emails with some information about what is happening with the the asylum seekers upon their arrival on Christmas Island, and also of some events in West Papua. I thought it may be of interest to some readers if I reproduced that information here.
Whlie I have no way of independently verifying the information, the sources from Christmas Island have been highly reliable in the past, and I have also found previously found the same information channels about West Papuan events to be accurate.
- On Christmas Island
The West Papuan asylum seekers arrived on the Island around 11.15 pm (local time) Thursday night and were described as subdued and scared. 4 families have been released into housing at Drumsite (the name of a locality on the Island). The youngest child appears about 2 and there are kids that appear to be teenagers.
As of Friday afternoon, the 4 West Papuan families released into the CI community are isolated and under GSL guard. Local residents were told by GSL guards that they cannot have contact with them. DIMIA have told the West Timorese family already living in community detention nearby (and who are not under guard) not to try to make contact with the new arrivals.
- In West Papua
As mentioned in some media reports, 4 West Papuans from Paniai – the same area as some of the West Papua boat people who arrived in Australia this week – have been reported shot by TNI soldiers from Battalion 753 early on Friday morning.
One of the four, Moses Douw, aged 14, later died at the Enarotali health clinic. Two others – an 18 year old girl and a 23 year old man – were believed to have been flown to Timika for hospital treatment. (I was also sent names for these two , but I won’t put them here)
The troops are reported to have shot randomly into the community market at Waghete village in the Paniai region of West Papua. One student has been killed and three others have been seriously injured. (Firing into a public place reminds me a bit of the infamous incident at Santa Cruz cemetery in East Timor in 1991.)
Paniai is the same area as some of the West Papua asylum seekers who recently arrived in Australia come from.
The reason for the shootings was not clear. A clash between the TNI and local people in the area is reported to have occurred on 22 December 2005, though it was thought that this dispute was settled.