TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Hundreds of United States troops’ skeletal remains left from World War II who were buried in Papua are in its early talks of being repatriated back to the US.
Their remains are believed to be spread across several areas such as Jayapura, Sarmi, Biak Numfor, and Tambrauw in the West Papua province.
“There are discussions of repatriating the skeletal remains of United States troops who died during the Second World War in Papua,” said Papua Archaeological Center researcher Hari Sutoro on Monday, August 12.
The idea came during an Evaluation of Archaeological Research Results presentation held by the National Archeological Research Center in Jakarta, where the US government is exploring possibilities to repatriate their soldiers who died in the Pacific War in Papua.
“This information was sourced from the Education and Culture Ministry’s bureau of foreign affairs, which was mentioned in an evaluation held in Jakarta,” said Hari Sutoro.
The United States Army under the command of General Douglas MacArthur managed to defeat Japanese troops in Papua during the pacific war of 1944. Mount Sentani at the time was made as a command post for the Southwest Pacific area.
However, Hari said that the skeletal remains of the US troops in its current form might still be mixed with remains of Papuans and Japanese troops, which will need a further detailed forensic process to separate them from each other.
Learning from past events, this repatriation of skeletal repatriation will need to be made into a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) that must involve local administrations.