Underage fighters are drawn into Indonesian conflict

In this photo taken in May 2019, and released by the West Papua Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization, men and boys from the West Papua Liberation Army pose with weapons in the Nduga region of the central highlands, Papua province, Indonesia. (West Papua Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization via AP)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The long-simmering conflict between Indonesia's military and Papuans seeking independence includes indigenous teenagers and boys who appear barely adolescent, highlighting how Indonesia's heavy-handed attempts to extinguish the movement have produced a new generation of fighters.

The West Papua Liberation Army, which has fought Indonesian control in the easternmost region since the early 1960s, and Papuans who peacefully advocate independence acknowledge that youngsters are involved in the conflict. But they also describe them as willing participants who fight the Indonesian state.

A photo taken in May by a Liberation Army member in the Nduga area of the central highlands in Papua shows four males who appear to range in age from pre-teen to adolescent, with four older men, all holding military-style weapons.

Must Read

China plans 30,000-km high speed rail network by...

Dec 29, 2016

The Chinese government is planning to expand the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000...

China starts 2017 engulfed by smog, issues...

Jan 2, 2017

Beijing and other cities across northern and central China are shrouded in thick smog, prompting...

China begins to ease its 2,000-year-old monopoly...

Jan 3, 2017

China has started an overhaul of its salt industry, easing a monopoly that has existed in some form...

Chinese delegation open to meeting Trump's team...

Jan 11, 2017

A Chinese official says President Xi Jinping's delegation to the World Economic Forum is open to...

'One China principle' not negotiable, China tells...

Jan 16, 2017

Responding to remarks by Donald Trump, China's Foreign Ministry says the country's "one-China...

Sign up now!

Advertisement