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We have lost an elder. Bapak Gerardus Thommey passed away yesterday evening, March 17, 2023

You named me: NAPI KOTEKA in 1999, Says General Amunggut Tabi

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We have lost an elder. Bapak Gerardus Thommey passed away yesterday evening, March 17, 2023, in the Westeinde Hospital in The Hague (Netherlands). He was 75 years old.

Mr. Thommey served under the leadership of late Jakob Prai and late Seth Rumkorem as regional commander of the OPM for more than thirteen years. As the movement grew bigger and better known, he got many freedom fighters under his command. Back than West Papua has been divided into nine sections by the OPM and Mr. Thommey was in charge of section 5: the Merauke region. This southeastern area borders the autonomous Papua New Guinea.

There he trained fighters who would train other fighters. Eventually, the movement grew into rebels in the Merauke area that way.

In 1985 he was arrested by the intelligence service of Papua New Guinea. He was imprisoned in Papua New Guinea for eight months. From prison he handed over command by letter to late Bernhard Mawen, at the time his senior commander and the leader of the OPM in the Merauke region.

Because Mr. Thommey was not allowed to return to his men in the jungle after his imprisonment, he decided to go abroad. With the help of the UN, he eventually ended up in Ghana. After four years he went to the Netherlands, because that was the first country that accepted him. His hope was that he could strengthen the OPM struggle from the Netherlands together the Papuan community and that I would eventually be able to go back to Papua.

In a 1985 document, Seth Rumkorem and Jacob Prai declare that all Papuans must unite. That is what he also wanted to advocate for after my arrival in the Netherlands. He felt it his duty to do so. It turned out differently.

He never returned to his country. That’s just was never a possibility. As a (former) commander, he can’t go back empty-handed. He couldn’t do that to his people. He will would never betray his fallen comrades. He always said ‘When I come, I must come with freedom’. Mr Thommey was pleased that the younger generation of Papuans in the Netherlands is prepared to continue its struggle and to keep the struggle alive.
Mr. Thommey used to say ‘When I was in the jungle, I shot with a rifle. But that message did not reach the Netherlands or America. What I experience in the Netherlands is that we can send our message all over the world within one minute’. Mr. Thommey was a member and has been a loyal supporter of the Free West Papua Campaign since its establishment in 2004.
As advisor Mr. Thommey has played an important role behind the scenes. Over the years, he has witnessed the establishment of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), the International Jurists for West Papua (ILWP) and the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
Dear uncle, Bapak Gerardus Thommey,

Kasumasa nabor, Wa wa wa, Terima kasih banyak, Thank you.

You have done your part in our independence struggle. You have climb the highest mountains, crossed many raging rivers, you slept in the rain and walked thousands of miles to fight against the Indonesian military occupation. You was a fearsome warrior, a freedom fighter, a respected commander. You have done your job. Now it is our turn to struggle on. Thank you for all those years, that you stood by our side. In good or bad weather, you was always there to support us. Your Fighting Spirit kept us all warm even when it was very cold outside. Yes Bapak Thommey, Life is struggle. You have honoured all your fallen comrades and your people in West Papua. You stayed true to the people of West Papua. You never gave up hope, you have always believed that one day West Papua will be free. Thank you for believing in us, thank you for your patience and guidance.

You are now part of West Papua’s Legion of Fallen Heroes and we that you will always support. Don’t worry Bapak Thommey, we will finish what you have started.
There is no more pain. You are FREE. Rest in Peace Bapak Thommey,

Araaa…..Marandan bebye.

On behalf of Free West Papua Campaign Nederland
and Arnold C. Ap family
Oridek AP

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