Bible Translator and Pastor Shot and Killed in Clashes Between Indonesia’s Military and Separatists

Pastor Yeremia Zanambani | Facebook/Gospel Tabernacle Church of Indonesia

A Christian pastor and Bible translator in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua was shot and killed in clashes between separatists and the military.

Yeremia Zanambani, the pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle Church of Indonesia (GKII) known for translating the Bible into Papua’s Moni dialect, was found dead outside his home in the village of Hitadipa in Intan Jaya district on Sept. 19, UCA News reports.

The death of the 67-year-old pastor, who also ran a local high school, was confirmed by GKII church officials in Jakarta.

“Reverend Zanambani was shot dead on Saturday afternoon on his way to his pigpen. This is a deep sadness. We are deeply saddened by the loss of a religious leader who served the Moni community so well,” GKII said in a statement on Sept. 20.

The local military commander also confirmed Zanambani’s death, claiming he been killed by a separatist group.

“The ferocity of these Papuan terrorists continues in Hitadipa. Reverend Yeremia Zanambani was a victim of the group,” said Col. Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa, head of Regional Command III.

However, another pastor at the church, Timotius Miagoni, told Reuters that Zanambani’s wife had found her husband bleeding in the pigsty and told Miagoni he had been shot by military personnel.

Additionally, Father John Djonga, an activist priest from Jayapura Diocese in Papua, told UCA News the shooting happened amid a military operation, two days after two soldiers were killed by separatists.

Sebby Sambom, spokesman of the Free Papua Movement separatist group, corroborated the account, claiming the pastor was murdered by Indonesian security forces amid escalating tension between military personnel and separatists groups.

“The Indonesian military should not make such ridiculous and groundless claims. The military, police and government should take responsibility for this murder,” he said.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett