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Jakarta Post

Journalist turns tales of undercover reporting, love in Papua into novel

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Fri, May 4 2018   /  12:18 am
Stranger than fiction: Aprila Russiana Amelia Wayar poses with her latest novel Sentuh Papua 1500 Miles, 153 Hari, Satu Cinta (Touch Papua 1500 miles, 153 days, one love). The book chronicles a Dutch journalist’s undercover reporting of Papua and is based on actual events. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)(Touch Papua 1500 miles, 153 days, one love). The book chronicles a Dutch journalist’s undercover reporting of Papua and is based on actual events. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Stranger than fiction: Aprila Russiana Amelia Wayar poses with her latest novel Sentuh Papua 1500 Miles, 153 Hari, Satu Cinta (Touch Papua 1500 miles, 153 days, one love). The book chronicles a Dutch journalist’s undercover reporting of Papua and is based on actual events. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)A Dutch freelance journalist, Rohan (a pen name), had been interested in the political turmoil in Papua for years. In 2015, his application for a journalistic visa was denied. The 32-year-old then decided to embark on an undercover reporting assignment in the country’s easternmost province.

For 153 days, he observed the way local people lived, met with leaders of the secessionist group Free Papua Movement (OPM) in the jungle, enjoyed the beauty of Papua’s nature and met Aprila Russiana Amelia Wayar, or Emil, a local journalist who later became his girlfriend.

It was Emil who wr...