West Papuan Leaders feel safe

West Papuan Leaders feel safe
Wenda jailed for 25 years for raising Morning Star Flag but escaped, By Len Garae
Wenda jailed for 25 years for raising Morning Star Flag but escaped, By Len Garae

A number of West Papua Leaders attending their first United Liberation Movement Summit in Port Vila this week feel safe here but claim if they are caught in West Papua on their return, they would most likely be either arrested or killed by the Indonesian military.

“If you raise the Morning Star Flag in West Papua, you stand the risk of being imprisoned for 15-25 years. I myself raised the flag in 2,000 and was imprisoned for 25 years.”

The statement is made by West Papua London-based Global Campaigner, Benny Wenda.

Wenda says he spent one year in prison before making history as the first West Papuan to escape and go abroad.

Looking back he says before that many West Papua leaders were killed including Chief Theys Eluay in 2001.

“In 2002, they arrested me and tortured me and for the first time in the history of West Papua for a Melanesian, I escaped and crossed the border into Papua New Guinea and made my way to the United Kingdom,” he says.

Asked what would happen if he should return to his country, he replies, “If I go back, I will be killed.

“It’s as simple as that.

“Even if I am in UK, they are still hunting me and it is not only me, every other West Papuan Leader waiting outside our border is targeted by the Indonesian apparatus.

“When we come to Vanuatu, we know that we are safe.”

The Morning Star flag will be raised in Port Vila on December 1, as a sign of hope, resistance against colonialism and freedom, the West Papuan leaders say.

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