Warning shots fired by Indonesian soldiers were prompted by the reading of a declaration of independence by high-profile Papuan leaders in Jayapura on Wednesday, a regional military commander said.
Regional Military Commander Maj. Gen.Erfi Triassunu said that contrary to some media reports, soldiers had not opened fire on live targets but were merely trying to break up a large gathering of the Papuan Peoples’ Congress that crossed the line with the reading of the unlawful document.
Police have arrested Papuan Customary Council chairman Forkorus Yaboisembut, would-be president of a free Papua, who read the declaration aloud at the Peoples’ Congress, according to the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (Elsham).
The declaration lists several points, among them:
Papua’s independence has been declared.
The people will elect the president of West Papua.
The national flag is the Morning Star flag.
The currency is the Gulden (old Dutch currency).
The national languages are Virjin, a local dialect, and Malay.
Other prominent Papuan leaders reportedly arrested include Selphius Bobii, chair of the congress’ organizing committee, and Edison Waromi, who was slated to serve as the new prime minister of the independent state.