The attack in Nduga regency took place a few days after the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) announced the deployment of 600 additional soldiers to the area to safeguard the completion of the Trans-Papua Highway project. Construction was disrupted in early December when separatist rebels killed 19 members of a crew working on the project in Nduga, military officials said.
In Thursday morning’s incident, two dozen soldiers who were assigned to provide security for the project came under attack from a large group of rebels in Mugi, a district of Nduga, said Muhammad Aidi, spokesman for the Indonesian military command in Papua.
“There was a sudden attack by about 50-70 people armed with various weapons, including military-standard weapons and traditional weapons such as arrows and spears,” Aidi told BenarNews.
The body of one suspected insurgent was found on the site, but soldiers believed that more rebels may have died in the encounter because the insurgents had left weapons at the scene, Aidi said.
“We saw them carry their members who were shot,” he said.
Aidi said the attackers were believed to be members of a Papuan rebel faction led by Egianus Kagoya.
The group, which calls itself the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), claimed responsibility for killing the 19 construction workers three months ago. The rebels claimed at the time that the workers were members of the military’s engineering detachment.
TPBPB spokesman Sebby Sambom denied that any rebels were killed in Thursday’s clash.
He said fighting broke out after eight government soldiers interrogated a local named Amos Kogeya, and set fire to several traditional houses belonging to residents.
The blazes attracted the attention of TPNPB members, who immediately went to the location, Sebby said.
“We pursued TNI members. We received a report that five TNI members were killed in the clashes. On our side, no one was killed,” Sebby told BenarNews.
The dead body found by the soldiers belonged to a civilian, Sebby said, identifying him as 52-year-old farmer Amiri Nimiangge.
“The body has nothing to do with the gunfight,” Sebby added.
Elsewhere in the troubled mineral-rich province, an activist with the West Papua National Committee, Victor Yeimo, called for a referendum on self-determination in Papua to resolve the conflict peacefully.
“We are urging the U.N. Human Rights Commission to come Papua. Indonesia must have the political will so that the conflict in Papua can be resolved peacefully and democratically through a referendum,” Yeimo said.
Laurens Kadepa, a member of the Papuan legislative council, said soldiers faced a difficult situation because separatist rebels mixed in with the local population and had to deal with difficult terrain.
“I deplore the deaths of TNI members and civilians. This violent conflict must be stopped immediately,” Kadepa said.
Earlier this week, the military said it was sending 600 reinforcements to Nduga to resume construction of the Trans-Papua road, after work on the project was halted in the wake of the early December killings of the 19 workers. Following the incident and fighting that ensued then between Indonesian security forces and Papuan rebels, Jakarta sent 154 police and soldiers to Nduga.
The killings of the three soldiers on Thursday was the first insurgency-related fatality on the military’s side since a soldier was killed at Mapenduma airport in Nduga on Jan. 29, when rebels tried to shoot down an airplane carrying Indonesian officials.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Nduga residents still have not returned to their villages out of fear of being trapped in armed clashes between separatist groups and security forces.
A low-level separatist conflict has been taking place in Papua, a region where the population is predominantly Melanesian, since the 1960s.
Papua declared its 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. In 1969, the region held a controversial referendum in which security forces had selected slightly more than 1,000 people to agree to Papua’s formal absorption into the archipelagic nation, according to human rights advocacy groups. (benarnews.org)
This article appeared first time in benarnews.org
HIV/AIDS transmission in Jayapura Regency claimed to decline
Sentani, Jubi – Jayapura Health Office claims HIV/AIDS cases in Jayapura Regency has declined with only 3,202 cases occurred until last year.
“HIV/AIDS prevention is a complex issue. It would not only the responsibility of the health office, but all parties should contribute in educating the community,” said Pungut Sunarto, the Division Head of Disease Prevention and Management of the Jayapura Regional Health Office, on Tuesday (21/1/2020).
People living with HIV/AIDS in Jayapura Regency are mostly the productive age group ranging from 20-49 years old. There are also infants and children among patients.
“We are always updating the report on people living with HIV/AIDS [in our region]. If not, they would not be able to access the ARV,” said Pungut.
He further said that the family plays a crucial role in preventing HIV/AIDS transmission. Similarly, he continued, life endurance among people living with HIV/AIDS depends on the support from their closest family.
“Those living with HIV/AIDS who regularly take their medicines (ARV) can reduce their medicine (ARV) can reduce the risk of virus transmission. So, please do not blame and stigmatise them,” said Pungut.
Meanwhile, a Sentani resident Edison Sineri agrees that parents have a significant role in preventing their children from behaviours that likely lead to the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexual diseases.
“Currently, young people are easily get involved in promiscuity that difficult to control by parents. It possibly leads them to negative behaviours.” (*)
Reporter: Yance Wenda
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Lawyers question commitment over Papuan political prisoners’ right
Nabire, Jubi – The Papua Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights urges the attorney general to fulfil the right of health for seven political prisoners detained in Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur and consider it as a neglection of the prisoners’ rights.
“We release this statement after one of our clients experienced vomiting blood. He had an internal disease issue,” said the Coordinator Emanuel Gobay on Friday (24/1/2020).
The coalition team asks the Papuan Attorney General’s commitment to providing the right of health to the prisoners as previously promised. It never occurred. Indeed, the Attorney General has neglected their family’s right to visit.
“If the seven detainees were in Papua, of course, their family can come to visit and find an alternative for health treatment.
Therefore, Gobay urges the Attorney General of Papua to recall the seven political prisoners to Jayapura. He said the security issue is no longer relevant as a reason to allocate their trial outside of Papua.
“It is unfair (for the seven detainees) referred that all the trial hearings of anti-racism case held in Papua. All those trials are going well and safe,” asserted Gobay.
Meanwhile, a coalition member Oktovianus Tabuni added that in principle the seven political prisoners are respecting their legal process. However, they want to have their trial in Papua.
“The principle of a trial is to have a timely and low-cost process. Do not let it (the trial) float up like what has been happening now,” said Tabuni. (*)
Reporter: Titus Ruban
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Autonomy budget cut off, Jayawijaya Government reduce supplementary feeding budget
Wamena, Jubi – The Government of Jayawijaya Regency has reduced the number of schools to receive funding on the Supplementary Feeding Program (PMTAS). The reduction relates to the Special Autonomy Funds cut off for the PON (the National Games) 2020
Nurlili, an official at the Jayawijaya Village Community Empowerment Office (DPMK), said last year the program was running in five schools in Napua, Maima, Musaftaf, Wita Waya and Wadangku subdistricts.
“There allocate for only two schools this year because of the budget cut off for the PON. We depend on the Special Autonomy Funds for this program,” Nurlili said in Wamena on Tuesday (21/1/2020).
In 2020, the local government plans to implement the program in four sub-districts, namely Asolokobal, Wesaput, Muliama and Tagime. “But, Muliama and Tagime sub-districts are a bit far, so we decided to implement the program in the zone two, namely in SD YPPK Hepuba in Asolokobal Sub-district and SD Inpres Wesaput in Wesaput Subdistrict,” he said.
The budget allocation for PMTAS Year 2020 reduced from IDR 857 million to IDR 468 million.
However, Nurlili hopes that in February they can conduct training for teachers and women at sub-districts and village levels on healthy food for children.
“At the end of the training, we will purchase some items that are not available in sub-districts and villages to deliver in March. They will be cooking food for the pupils, and we will monitor its implementation. There will be a payment for the cooks, but they should submit the report first,” he said.
In addition to food ingredients, the local government also provides cash for schools to purchase some food from the local markets to help the cash flow of villages and sub-districts.
“This program is very critical because President Jokowi has instructed us to decrease stunting among children. Therefore, we allocate the PMTAS for the primary school children because it is their growth period,” he said. (*)
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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