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Indonesia: ICRC visits hostages in Irian Jaya

29-02-1996 News Release 96/9

Geneva (ICRC) - On 29 February three delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one of them a doctor, visited the 12 people held hostage for 53 days by the OPM (Free Papua Movement) in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Food, clothing and medicines were distributed to the hostages during the five-hour visit. The group comprises six Indonesian, four British and two Netherlands nationals. Each of the persons visited was examined by the ICRC doctor and given treatment as needed, and individual reports on their state of health will shortly be communicated to their families. The ICRC team also collected family messages and photos.

The delegates travelled by civilian helicopter, and on their return journey took with them a tribal chief who was seriously ill. He was subsequently hospitalized in Wamena.

The same day, in parallel with the medical visit to the hostages, further talks were held with Mr Kelik Kwalik, one of the local OPM leaders. During the three weeks that it has been using its good offices in Irian Jaya the ICRC has endeavoured to facilitate dialogue among all the parties concerned, that is, the OPM, the Indonesian authorities and the British and Netherlands governments.