Missionary despairs as Dayak headhunters net 3000
'May God forgive them for they do not know what they do' is the only conclusion of a longtime missionary in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, following the death of up to 3000 ethnic Madurese settlers at the hands of native Dayaks.
61 year old Fr Willibard Pfeiffer, a member of the Holy Family congregation, is diocesan administrator aat Palangkaraya. The Fides news agency obtained a copy of a fax he sent on Friday to the Indonesian bishops.
Describing the situation in which 'wailing is heard everywhere', he said: "I heard some Dayak militants saying that by Saturday 24 February about 700 human heads had been collected. It is a tradition to kill by beheading and show the heads to the leaders. Probably (the heads) were also used for the Tiwah ritual. Until now about 2000 to 3000 people were estimated to have been killed."
Fr Preiffer continued: "Fortunately, many Madurese had fled Palangkaraya, but many remained. We do not know their fate. Many of their houses were gutted. Rumours say after Palangkaraya, the Dayaks are going to attack Pangkalan Bun in the district of West Kotawaringin. Their slogan is 'the Madurese must disappear from Kalimantan'."
"This is the situation as we see it with our own eyes and from information we receive. Only God knows what really happens," he concluded.
The text of his report is reproduced on the Fides website.