Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Police claim to have found clues to Theys' murder

Antara, Jakarta

JAKARTA: Irian Jaya Police claimed on Wednesday evening that they had uncovered clues relating to the murder of Papuan proindependence leader Theys Hiyo Eluay, while in Jakarta on Thursday dozens of Irianese demanded the United Nations and House of Representatives (DPR) intervene to resolve the case.

Clues were revealed after the police's investigative team had questioned a large number of witnesses, Irian Jaya Police chief Insp. Gen. Made Mangku Pastika said in Irian Jaya's capital of Jayapura on Wednesday evening, without providing further details.

Made was quoted by Antara as saying that, despite the clues, police would continue gathering information from various parties to support the investigation.

"The increasing amount of information and evidence provided by the witnesses is expected to help uncover the mystery of Theys' death," he said.

The body of Theys, the Papuan Presidium Council chief well- known for promoting nonviolent methods to achieve goals, was found on Nov. 11, 2001, near Jayapura.

Recently he took a controversial stance by rejecting Irian Jaya's special autonomy status, which will become effective as of January next year.

He was allegedly kidnapped by unidentified men after attending a National Heroes Day ceremony on Nov. 10 at the Army's Special Force (Kopassus) headquarters in Jayapura.

Meanwhile, dozens of Irianese activists staged a rally in front of the UN office in Jakarta on Thursday, demanding that the UN and DPR intervene in the investigation of Theys' death.

The activists, some wearing traditional costume and performing indigenous dances, urged the UN to lobby the Indonesian government to stop violence in Irian Jaya.

They unfurled banners reading "Thoroughly Investigate They's Death", "UN, Don't Just Remain Silent" and "Stop Violence and Kidnapping in Papua".

The activists also urged the DPR to establish a special committee in charge of thoroughly investigating Theys' death.

A call for the formation of an independent team to probe the kidnapping and killing of Theys was also aired by five nongovernmental organizations on Thursday.

In their letter to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), the five organizations -- the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association, the Research Institute for Democracy and Peace, the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence -- said that an independent team was badly needed as the existing team was not sufficiently transparent.

In a related development, Theys' wife Yaneke Ohee Eluay denied a report that Aristoteles Masoka, Theys' private driver who was accompanying him at the time of his kidnapping, had returned home to Sentani, Jayapura.

"The report is groundless ... that is just a rumor," Yaneke said on Thursday. Aristoteles whereabouts are still unknown.