Flag of West Papua – On January 8th, 1996, there was a terrifying incident experienced by 12 Lorentz Expedition researchers who were gathering data in Mapenduma, Papua. Those people were kidnapped by hundreds of Free Papua Movement (OPM) led by Daniel Yudas Kogoya.
At first, Free Papua Movement (OPM) intended to hold foreign hostages and murder Indonesian hostages. Since, this kidnapping involved foreigners, this incident took international attention. Free Papua Movement Commander, Kelly Kwalik, intended Papua liberation by exchanging the hostages Flag of West Papua
To save the hostages, Indonesian Army mandated General Commander of Special Forces Command, Prabowo Subianto to be the commander for the mission. Besides, Kostrad Battalion was also helping the mission. This mission involved 600 people. As international world has requested, Indonesia allowed International Committee of Red Cross to have a negotiation with Free Papua Movement. However, It did not work.
Immediately, Brigadier General, Prabowo command his troop to conduct reconnaissance. After feeling pressed, Free Papua Movement run to the forest. Free Papua Movement murdered two hostages, Navy and Matheis. Those two hostages were killed by axe. Hysterically, other hostages run saving their lives.
“We are Battalion 330, Indonesia National Army,” one of the soldiers shouted when meeting with the hostages.”
The hostages felt a relief and then they were successfully saved by Indonesia National Army. The soldiers then covered the hostages and opened fire to avoid the closing Free Papua Movement soldiers. Indonesian soldiers had a chance to chase Free Papua Movement soldiers, but the Indonesia army captain chose to stay because he did not want to lose the hostages. Meanwhile, the captain still searched for help.
The next day, the additional Special Force Command personnels arrived to help the hostages. Then the hostages were evacuated by helicopter. The hostages were free after 130 days kidnapped by Free Papua Movement. As the result, Indonesian National Army received salutations from the International world for this achievement.
This story was the real experience of Adinda Arimbi Saraswati, one of hostages. Her story was also published in a book entitled “Sandera, 130 days trapped in Mapenduma.” Flag of West Papua