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Indonesia: Papua Residents Fearful even as Military Presence Grows

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Indonesian security forces stand guard around the village of Yal in Nduga regency, Jan. 12, 2019. -Victor Mambor/BenarNews

Papua, Jubi – Calm has yet to return to Nduga regency in Indonesia’s Papua province where separatist rebels killed 19 construction workers in December, forcing residents to flee to escape clashes between the insurgents and government security forces, officials and residents said Wednesday.

Soldiers and police launched an operation code-named “Operasi Nemangkawi” to capture those responsible in the killings of workers who were building the Trans-Papua Highway. Regional military spokesman Col. Muhamad Aidi said no arrests have been made.

“We have been focusing on restoring security, protecting citizens and displaced people,” Muhamad said.

Meanwhile, fears abound that more violence could erupt.

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“We are afraid to return to our village because there are still soldiers and police,” Usman Lokbere, an Nduga resident who fled to Wamena, the main town in Jayawijaya regency, told BenarNews on Wednesday.

In addition to efforts to capture the suspected killers, the military sent 600 soldiers to Nduga this week to resume the construction of bridges as part of the highway that stretches more than 4,300 km (2,687 miles) from Sorong, the largest city in West Papua province, to Merauke regency, and is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

“The TNI (Indonesian Armed Forces) personnel are currently on their way to Timika, then to Nduga,” said Osman Marbun, head of the Jayapura National Road Development Center (BBPJN).

The soldiers, based in the capital of South Sulawesi province, are to provide security while working on the construction project, according to a military official.

“The 600 TNI personnel will be deployed around the Trans Papua road, between Wamena and Mumugu,” regional military chief Maj. Gen. Yosua Pandit Sembiring said.

The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), claimed responsibility for the killings, alleging that the people they killed were soldiers from the military’s engineering detachment, and not civilian workers.

Construction on parts of the highway has been stalled for months, but President Joko Widodo has vowed to finish the project as part of his promise to develop the resource-rich area.

Criticism

Papuan House of Representatives member Laurens Kadepa criticized the military’s move, saying sending reinforcements was not a solution and would only add to the climate of fear.

“Indonesia is being watched closely by the international community, global church councils and even the United Nations due to the ongoing violence in Papua, but the central government still maintains the practice of violence,” he told BenarNews.

“The spotlight (on Indonesia) should have prompted the government to reform security measures in Papua,” he said.

Human rights activist Peneas Lokbere said sending hundreds of soldiers contradicted claims by authorities that security had been restored in Nduga and that residents have returned to their villages.

“If indeed the situation in Nduga is peaceful, why is the TNI sending reinforcements? That will only prolong people’s trauma,” he said.

Nduga resident Raga Kogoya called the decision to send more troops unfair.

“We are only a few, why must we continue to be subjected to security operations,” Raga told BenarNews.

Daniel Kogoya, spokesman for the Nduga Regency Regional Secretariat, said the local government remains focused on providing food and health care to residents who were uprooted from their homes by the violence.

“Many people are still displaced. They have little food to eat and their health is deteriorating,” Daniel said. “Displaced children have been unable to attend classes while exams are approaching.”

Papua is one of the archipelago’s poorest regions despite its rich natural resources. It declared independence from Dutch colonial rule on Dec. 1, 1961, but that was rejected by the Netherlands and later by Indonesia.

In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded the region and annexed it, and six years later held a controversial referendum in which, according to rights groups, security forces selected slightly more than 1,000 people to agree to the region’s formal absorption into the archipelagic nation. (benarnews.org)

This article appeared first time in benarnews.org

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MG was in Wamena when Istaka workers murdered, says MRP member

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Papuan People’s Assembly launched a book “Kekerasan tak berujung di Nduga” in Jayapura, Monday Senin (9/12/2019). – Jubi/Benny Mawel

Jayapura, Jubi – Luis Madai, a member of Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), said the person named for suspect in the murder of sixteen workers of PT Istaka Karya was not in Nduga at the time of the incident. Instead, Madai said, the suspect MG was in Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya Regency, Papua.

Madai declared his statement on Wednesday (22/1/2020). “During the incident [of murder], MG was in Wamena [with his family]” said Madai.

Therefore, he called the police to act fair and clever in investigating this case of ambush. Madai said the police investigation, in this case, seems to abuse the right of a person who does not have any knowledge about law and Indonesian by accusing him of the suspect.

“The police must see who is the real perpetrator. If they can see it clearly, they can find people who deserved to be arrested and brought to justice,” said Madai.

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He then gave an example of Egianus Kogoya, the armed group leader from the West Papua National Liberation Army who had claimed be responsible for the murder. Madai also mentioned that the police should thoroughly examine the testimony given by Jhony Arung as the field supervisor of PT Istaka Karya.

“It is clear that Egianus Kogoya is the master of mind that the police should arrest. But they do not arrest him until now,” said Magai. Furthermore, he asked the police for tracing Arung’s current domicile. Johny Arung was one of the workers who were safe from the ambush.

The sixteen workers of PT Istaka Karya was killed in the ambush on 2 December 2018. The insurgent group from West Papua National Liberation Army under Egianus Kogoya claimed to be responsible towards this incident.

Meanwhile, the legal process against MG has become a controversial issue. MG was arrested by the military Task Force near the murder scene, Puncak Kabo, Yigi Sub-district, Nduga Regency and handed him to the local police of Jayawijaya.

The police admitted that MG is not a member of Kogoya’s group. On 15 August 2019, the Local Police of Jayawijaya held the reconstruction of Nduga ambush at the yard of Jayawijaya Police Headquarters. In the reconstruction, MG demonstrated 30 scenes of the shooting.

After the reconstruction, Jayawijaya Police Crime and Investigation Sub-unit Chief Alexander told Jubi that MG is not a member of Kogoya’s group but a partisan.

On 17 December 2019, Adjunct Police Commissionaire Suheriadi, Jayawijaya Crime and Investigation Unit, declared that MG has sent to Jakarta and would try in Jakarta. At that time he stated MG was named a suspect because he was at Puncak Kabo at the time of the ambush. “MG helped to determine whether the shot victims were already dead or not by stubbing their bodies,” he told Jubi on 17 December 2019.

The trial against MP that held in the Central Jakarta District Court has become a concern of many parties. On 17 January 2020, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) sent a letter to the Head of the Central Jakarta District Court asking the panel of judges to consider the teeth examination towards the suspect to estimate the actual age of the suspect. KPAI sent the letter after receiving information that MG is still a child but conduct a trial in a public court.

Meanwhile, the Papuan People’s Representative has published their investigation in a book titled “Kekerasan tak Berujung di Nduga” which means the endless violence in Nduga. This report concludes that the murder of PT Istaka Karya workers did not occur spontaneously, but preceded by a series of events involving the insurgent group from West Papua National Liberation Army and the workers. In their report, the Papuan People’s Assembly reviews the role of Jhony Arung in the series of event that led to the murder of sixteen PT Istaka Karya workers. (*)

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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New Brimob headquarters faces land and personnel issues

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Illustration of Brimob troopers. -Tempo.co

Wamena, Jubi – Mobile Brigade (Brimob) headquarters planned to build in Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province face both land and personnel issues.

Senior Police Commissionaire Godhelp Mansnembra, the Unit Commander of Papua Police’s Brimob, said despite these two issues they still need coordination with the local police chief of Jayawijaya Regency.

“We are not planning to build a big headquarters, but at least it is enough for accommodating a company. So, perhaps we can set a post for a start. It also relates to personnel recruitment,” Mansnembra said in Wamena on Wednesday (22/1/2020).

The Papua Police has formed the Mobile Brigade Detachment D in Jayawijaya with 171 personnel, but they are planning to expand their personnel to 400.

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“We have a Brimob detachment here. With more than 400 troopers, they would not only be assigned in Jayawijaya Regency, but also to other regions such as Merauke, Mappi and Wamena,” he said.

If the land is available, we will start to build the headquarters command for a company at least next year.

“Regarding other facilities, we already have vehicles, but considering the expensive fuel and maintenance cost in Wamena, we need to wait until the settlement of the land issue to bring those operational vehicles here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Regent of Jayawijaya Marthin Yogobi said from the meeting with Brimob Unit Commander there was no discussion concerning the construction of Brimob Headquarters. However, the regional government had facilitated the installation of some Brimob posts in several points to support peace and order in society.

“During the meeting with Brimob Unit Commander, there was no discussion about such plan of extra personnel deployment to Jayawijaya region,” he said.

Further, Yogobi said the commander’s visit to Jayawijaya was also to inspect his personnel’s promptness ahead of local councillor’s inauguration which planned taking place Wednesday (23/1/2020)

“The existing Brimob troop in Jayawijaya is sufficient to support security during the inauguration,” he said. (*)

 

Source: ANTARA

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papua Government will find solutions for exodus students

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Papua Provincial Secretary Herry Dosinaen was speaking in front of hundreds of exodus students at the court of Papuan People’s Assembly’s office – Wednesday (22/1/2020). – Jubi/Agus Pabika

Jayapura, Jubi – The Provincial Government of Papua would attempt to address problems facing the exodus students who continue to stay in Jayapura City, Papua.

Papua Provincial Secretary Herry Dosinaen told hundreds of exodus students who wish to meet Papua Governor Lukas Enembe in a meeting facilitated by the Papuan People’s Assembly.

“The governor just called saying he now has a meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Education. They talk about the possibility listed exodus students for being able to resume their studies at their former educational institutions,” the provincial secretary told hundreds of exodus students on Wednesday (22/1/2020).

Meanwhile, Papuan House of Representatives’ Chairman Jhony Banua Rouw hopes the meeting between the provincial government, local parliament and the exodus students can accommodate both parties to a better solution.

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“We are trying to find solutions for these students because it is not easy for them to return to their former cities of study and adapt to it. However, we can find a way to make them feel safe,” he said.

According to him, before the students return to their former cities of study, it is the government’s responsibility for ensuring that the students would be safe and secured. Therefore, there will be no more racism incidents to occur in the future.

“We must take immediate actions before the enrolment begins to avoid late enrolment that can affect their academic result and emotion in the cities of study,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Agus Pabika

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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