The forgotten 50 year insurgency in West Papua
Called the province of Papua Barat by Indonesia, who annexed the region from the Dutch in 1963 as a part of the New York Agreement that got Holland out of their East Indies colony for good, many locals in West Papua would rather just see their independence as a free state. Over the past 50 years, there have been a variety of efforts both by domestic groups and idealistic would-be freedom fighters from abroad to pry West Papua away from Jakarta, all with little success.
Today, a contentious highway project has reignited a smoldering conflict, reports Australian media, and clashes between Free Papuan groups and Indonesian security forces are mounting, while an internet blackout and media dead zone keep the war under wraps.
“We will kill, we will fight,” says Sebby Sambom, a Papua New Guinea-based spokesman for the armed independence movement. “We will continue to fight — no compromise.”