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Human Rights Watch:

Biak massacre verified   door  Lindsay Murdoch

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, July 13, 1999

An independent investigation has confirmed a Herald report that Indonesian soldiers massacred Irian Jaya demonstrators and dumped others at sea on the island of Biak last year.

The investigation team found at least eight people were shot and 37 others hurt when troops opened fire on unarmed people after they had raised the West Papua independence flag and that 32 bodies recovered at sea were also victims of military atrocities.

The Herald reported in November that witnesses saw Irianese, many of them women and children, taken out to sea in a Indonesian Navy ship and dumped overboard.

But the Indonesian armed forces strongly denied the claims, saying the bodies were those of victims of the tsunami that struck the Papua New Guinea coast 900 kilometres away.

The investigation team, appointed by three churches and the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy, called for an official investigation of human rights violations in Irian Jaya.

The institute's executive director, Mr Yohanes Bonay, said the military's explanation for the washed up bodies was nonsense.

"We all know that the tsunami occurred on July 17, 1998, eight days after the bodies were found," he said. "Besides, do Papua New Guineans wear Golkar or Indonesian group T-shirts?"

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