Police raid and occupy Papuan church headquarters

Indonesian police occupied the headquarters of the Indigenous Kingmi Church in Jayapura, West Papua yesterday. The Kingmi church has been particularly vocal in speaking out against the terrible human rights violations in the region. The majority of the Kingmi Church members come from the Papuan highlands where the Indonesian military has been most brutal.

Six police trucks and a water cannon were stationed outside the church offices yesterday. Paramilitary police armed with rifles occupied the roof of the building, and more than 50 policemen were positioned outside.

Following the police action, 200 members of the Kingmi Church protested outside the headquarters, blocking one lane of traffic.

The Kingmi church has recently broken away from the Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII, The Tabernacle Bible Church of Indonesia) and returned to its original self-governing status. The police have accused the Kingmi Church of supporting the Papuan independence movement.

Survival is concerned for the safety of the leaders of the Kingmi Church and of those protesting outside the building. The Indonesian police have a history of brutally repressing all forms of protest in West Papua.

Rev Benny Giay, chair of the Kingmi Church’s Bureau of Justice and Peace, said of an earlier police attack on the church, ‘The victims of Indonesian brutality are the members of the church. The church has the right to stand up for the rights of the people.’