Constructions round Theys grave forcibly destroyed Afdrukken

Makeshift constructions near Theys' grave removed

A number of makeshift constructions (which are being called tenda or tents) have been destroyed in the vicinity of the grave of Theys Hijo Eluay by the police on the orders of the bupati (district chief). The action was undertaken under guard of a heavy police presence and troops of Brimob, the elite police corps.

[These 'tenda' consist of a roof of made of bamboo, perhaps two metres by three metres in size, held up by four poles, each one with several people inside.]

Theys Eluay, the head of the Papuan Presidium Council was assassinated in November 2001. He was the revered leader of the Papuan people whose loss is still mourned by Papuans.

The police claim that they were forced to destroy the constructions after appeals to the people inside failed to do so themselves. The authorities say that they had shown tolerance in waiting for their voluntary removal following a meeting between Muspida (army, police and administration leaders) and heads of local tribal people. After the deadline passed, they were destroyed, while some people who were present at the site protested at the police presence.

Before the destructions took place, there was a discussion between Viktor Yeimo, coordinator of the occupation of the Theys grave, and district chief, Chris Tokoro Yeimo suggested that the two tenda behind the grave should be left in place, and they themselves would help to
destroy the other ones. However, after prayers were said together and the Papuans shouted 'Long Live the Papuan People!' the tenda were forcibly destroyed, the bamboo constructions were thrown onto a garbage truc.

The proposal for talks between the government and the chairman of the Adat Council (DAP), as well as Boy Eluay, the son of Theys was ignored.

The district chief claimed that the constructions were being destroyed in the interests of cleanliness.

After the removal, all those Papuans still present were told to return to their homes, and were warned that their identities.would be checked.

As the constructions were being destroyed, a bow and arrow was found among the wreckage.

Forkorus Yaboissembut, chairman of DAP, condemned the actions of the authorities, saying that the land around the grave of Theys had been handed over to the local chieftains (ondoafi/ondofolo) for traditional
ownership around the grave..

'The land belongs to the Papuan traditional prople. It is not owned by Boy Eluay or by the ondofolo but by Papuan traditional people, and should never be disturbed,' he said. 'If the reason is to keep the area clean, there are other ways to do this. The
matter should be properly discussed by all those concerned, to find a solution together.' He suggested that the local administration could provide funds to supply a special field with a guard post.'

'I want to make it clear that we Papuan people have strong objections to the destruction of these tenda.This will only make people here very angry indeed because they built them on their own land, not on anyone else's land,' he said.

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