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Mass graves from anti-communist purges found in Indonesia

An Indonesian organisation investigating the 1965-1966 anti-communist purges, said on Friday that it has found 16 new mass graves on Java island that could contain some 5,000 bodies.

Mass graves from anti-communist purges found in Indonesia
Image credit: Google Maps


The Murder Victims Research Foundation YPKP 65, which had previously discovered another 122 mass graves, sent the coordinates of the new locations to the National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday.

"Two weeks ago, we came to the locations. We found the mass graves in Grobogan, Central Java," the head of YPKP 65, Bedjo Untung, told Efe news.

"It is for sure that the 16 mass graves show that there was mass murder in 1965 planned by the military."

He requested protection for the evidence found and expressed his fear that the graves might be destroyed to hide what happened.

In April 2016, President Joko Widodo ordered that the location of the first 122 mass graves discovered be documented, and a month later he announced an investigation.

The massacre is still a taboo in Indonesia even after more than 50 years. The investigation, which is opposed by factions of the military and retired generals, has not shown any results to date.

A failed coup attempt on September 30, 1965, for which the Indonesian Communist Party was blamed, led to anti-Communist reprisals.

Last month, de-classified documents from the US embassy in Indonesia revealed that Washington was aware of and supported the massacres of communists.

The killings were carried out mostly by civilian paramilitary groups and Muslim organisations in collaboration with the army.

General Suharto, the then Chief of the Armed Forces, took advantage of the situation to seize power after deposing the country's first President Sukarno.

The legislature confirmed Suharto as president of Indonesia in 1967, and three years later Sukarno died.

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