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Indonesian Military Target for Church Leaders in West Papua; Serious Problem for the growth of Christian Church

Pastor Gemin Nirigi shot by Indonesian military in 2018 in Nduga regency

The church in West Papua is under attack by the Indonesian military due to its uncompromising position on matters of human rights. Church leaders in West Papua have long been the targets for Indonesian military and police who constantly monitor them and intimidate them to ensure they only speak peaceful news about West Papua.

Indonesian Military Targeting Christian Pastors has been a trend in West Papua since the death of Father Neles Tebay in 2019 through food poisoning. Christian Churches are losing more pastors and priests under the hands of Indonesian military who are mostly Muslim extremists. Pastors and Priests are prime targets of TNI and Indonesian intelligence in West Papua a trend that is dangerous for the growth and continuity of the Christian faith in West Papua. Churches in the Melanesian countries and the Pacific need to raise their voices higher this time because shepherds are dying leaving their sheep behind to be forced to follow their own ways.

Below is the list of Pastors who died in West Papua under the hands of Indonesian intelligence and military since 2018;

  1. Father Neles Tebay a Senior Catholic Priests and Director for Papua Peace Network died of food poisoning in  Jakarta in 2019
  2. Pastor Gemin Nirigi Short and buried by Indonesian Military in December 2018
  3. Pastor Alfred Degei of GKI Church Murdered in cold blod on 22nd of September 2020 died while out looking for pigs food
  4. Pastor Yeremias Zanambani of GKI Church shot by TNI on 20th of September 2020.

Many Church Leaders are under the target of Indonesian military and police and their intelligence network. This has been a norm since Indonesia annexed the region 59 years ago. Pacific countries and the Christians in general cannot stay silent on this well-planned execution of Church leaders in West Papua Christian churches need to do something.

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