‘United’ West Papua Army to end use of child soldiers, but frictions remain – West Papua No.1 News Portal
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‘United’ West Papua Army to end use of child soldiers, but frictions remain

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Child soldiers in West PapuaChild soldiers in West Papua Photo: Sebby Sambom, West Papua Liberation Army

Papua, Jubi – The main organisation advancing West Papuan independence aims abroad has committed to ending the use of child soldiers by armed rebels fighting under its flag.

This comes after revelations boys as young as 15 are fighting in an escalating conflict with Indonesian forces in Papua’s Central Highlands.

The new rules, which are expected to take effect in the next six months, are part of an effort to placate concerns over underage fighters joining the ranks of the West Papua Liberation Army, and comes as the independence movement struggles to gain ground with the international community.

Last month, RNZ Pacific reported the Liberation Army had violated international conventions against the recruitment of child soldiers, a move the rebel group argued was necessary in a region embroiled in near-constant conflict.

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On Monday, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) claimed it was taking political leadership of the Liberation Army and the two other main rebel groups in Papua. According to the ULMWP, the three will form a new grouping dubbed the West Papua Army and will undertake military reforms.

“We want to follow international law. We also must keep little boys in very clear position,” said Jacob Rumbiak, an Australia-based ULMWP spokesperson. He said the changes would restrict active combat operations by the West Papua Army to adult fighters, although he added children would still be trained for combat.

A release on Monday from the office of the ULMWP chair, Benny Wenda, said it was the first time the three major rebel factions had come under a single arm.

“Politically and militarily we are united now. The international community can now see without a doubt that we are ready to take over our country,” he said.

But undermining the new united front, the Liberation Army released a counter-statement on Monday, saying it was “not a part of ULMWP or the West Papua Army.” The statement said Mr Wenda’s claims were “fabrications and lies”.

Experts said the ULMWP assuming political leadership over armed forces was unlikely to carry much sway with rebels already operating with little oversight, especially within the Liberation Army, which is engaged in a chaotic war with Indonesian forces in Nduga regency.

“I don’t know if it can be applied anytime soon given the nature of the Liberation Army is quite fragmented since the 1960s,” Hipo Wangge, a researcher at Marthinus Academy in Jakarta, said of claims the West Papua Army would end the use of child soldiers.

A spokesperson for the Liberation Army couldn’t be reached for comment on the proposed regulations.

Victor Mambor, the editor of Papuan news site Tabloid Jubi, said a meeting in Papua New Guinea last year between the three armed groups and the Liberation Movement had ended with some members “unhappy” over the outcome.

Since then, the Liberation Army has found itself at the centre of a war with Indonesia after its fighters massacred at least 16 Indonesian construction workers in Nduga in December, in the worst bout of violence to strike Papua in years. Hundreds of Indonesian military and police have been deployed in a hunt for the rebel group.

Rights groups have documented a widespread displacement of civilians from Nduga, including hundreds of children who have been forced to take shelter in displacement camps in nearby cities. In April, the Irish human rights group Front Line Defenders said more than 32,000 people had been displaced from the regency since December.

Still, the formation of the West Papua Army shows how Papuan rebel groups are being leveraged to win international support for the independence movement.

The Liberation Movement spokesperson, Mr Rumbiak, said the move was prompted by a request from Vanuatu, which he added had wanted a united front including from military factions in order to make international lobbying easier. Vanuatu’s government has been a staunch supporter of West Papuan independence and its Special Envoy for West Papua last month handed over an application for the Liberation Movement to gain full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. (*)

 

Source: RNZI

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A story of Ruth Dolly Pagawak, Papuan woman who recovered from Covid-19

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Ruth Dolly Pagawak. -Jubi/Hans

Manokwari, Jubi – Ruth Dolly Pagawak, twenty years old Papuan woman who declared negatives after two swab checks, could go home. She finally can meet her baby and the rest of her family on Saturday afternoon, 16 May 2020 after being quarantined at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital.

Along with Pagawak, other patients H. Abdullah Appe (62 years old) and La Marra (65 years old) were also declared has recovered from the Coronavirus. Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan officially take three of them out of the hospital.

While wearing a mask and holding her health certificate tightly, Pagawak told that her recovery is God’s blessing. “This is because of the grace of Lord Jesus that I was declared recovered of the Coronavirus,” said Pagawak holding a bucket of flowers by her doctors and nurses.

During her medical treatment at the hospital, Pagawak always listened to doctors and the medical team who treated her. She declared that listening to the government and medical staffs’ advice during the treatment is very important. By doing that, the body immune will stronger to combat the virus.

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“During my treatment, I routinely consumed vitamins and complied the doctors’ orders. I was also tried not being stressful because I believed that I would recover,” she said.

Since she was tested positive of Coronavirus in the mid of April, Pagawak has not experienced the most severe symptom. She claimed to only experience light symptoms such as cough and runny nose.

“I never experienced severe symptoms such as shortness of breath. I just had a cold and a mild cough.”

As the first Papuan woman who recovers from Coronavirus in Papua Barat, Pagawak advised people, in particular native Papuans, not to underestimate this virus. Still, they also do not need to overwhelm panic.

“The point is we must remain vigilant. Wear a mask, wash our hand routinely and get enough rest. We cannot avoid this virus because it is not visible. Therefore, we must follow all medical advice by the government, and never forget to pray and beg for mercy and recovery from God,” she said.

Pagawak told that she initially didn’t believe in her initial test confirming that she was Coronavirus positive because she was in the postpartum period. But with the support and permission of her husband, she finally agreed to take an initial medical treatment at Manokwari Hospital separately from her baby. She then continued to quarantine at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital since 1 May.

“I initially didn’t believe that I am Coronavirus positive. I just delivered my first child, who was six weeks at the time. So, when they took my baby and me from Warmare Subdistrict to Manokwari Hospital, we were treated separately,” she said.

This young mother also thanked the quarantine team of Papua Barat Provincial Hospital because of treating her and other patients sincerely and pouring them with encouragement and motivation.

“Personally, I thank the medical team, doctors and everybody who involved in Papua Barat Provincial Hospital. They are noble-hearted people because they treated us nicely. They are warm and always motivate us; therefore, we remain motivated to recover,” she said.

The information from the Covid-19 Task Force Papua Barat stated that Pagawak’s baby is currently undergoing treatment by a paediatrician at Manokwari Hospital. The baby, on the contrary, was declared negative since the initial examination and treated separately from the mother.
Meanwhile, Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan hopes that local community and neighbours of the recovered patients to accept them when they return to their family and neighbourhood.

“I hope people can accept them when they return to their family. Their recovery was also the hard work of the Papua Barat Provincial medical staff as well as our prayers,” said Mandacan at the Papua Barat Hospital on Saturday (16/5/2020). (*)

 

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Joyce Lin, a pilot of MAF crashed plane was also an IT specialist graduate from MIT

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Joyce Lin. – maf.org

Jayapura, Jubi – An aircraft operated by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) was reportedly being crashed and drown in Lake Sentani on Tuesday (12/5/2020). Locals reported the incident after hearing an explosion. After two minutes take-off from Sentani Airport to Mamit, Tolikara Regency, the aircraft lost contact with the air traffic control tower.

Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo told Jubi that the crashed aircraft was possibly carrying books and stationeries for Yayasan Papua Harapan based in Mamit. President GIDI, the Rev. Dorman Wandikbo, also said the same thing.

“The aircraft was carrying school books and stationeries to Mamit,” said the Rev. Wandikbo by phone to Jubi. The pilot of the crashed plane later identified as Joyce Lin, a US citizen. Her body found at a depth of 13 meters in Lake Sentani.

Joyce, according to the Rev. Wandikbo, had just flown in Papua, although she had many experiences flying the small aircraft.

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The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

Joyce Lin grew up in Colorado and Maryland. She involved in a non-denomination local evangelist church service from a young age. At the age of eight, she showed her interest in everything linked with computers, mainly computer programming. Her interest in aviation also developed at an early age when her neighbouring pilot took her to the local air show.

She later took the computer science in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Engineering from the MIT. Because she had an interest in aviation, she also obtained a certificate of the private pilot while still in college.

After graduation, Joyce Lin worked as a computer specialist at a commercial company for ten years until obtaining a position of the Director of Engineering, while growing her enthusiasm towards seminary at the same time. She then registered as a student at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity. While studying theology there, she learned about the missionary flying service. It surprised her when knowing that there is a job that can combine her interest in computers, aviation and Christianity service at once. From there, she found a strong call to work as a missionary pilot. She had instrument certification and commercial flying certificate and experience working as a flight instructor to meet the requirement as a pilot for MAF. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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The body of crashed MAF aircraft found 13 meters below water

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Lake Sentani. -Ist

Jayapura, Jubi – Roberth Tunyanan from KNKT (the National Transportation Safety Committee) Papua said the body of a pilot killed in the crashed aircraft was found in Lake Sentani on Tuesday morning.

“I received the report stating the Rescue Team had found the body of MAF pilot flying the aircraft PK-MEC in Lake Sentani,” Tunyanan as quoted by Antara News Agency on Tuesday morning (12/5/2020).

The report also revealed that her body found at a depth of 13 meters trapped in the cockpit.

The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

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The aircraft controlled by Joyce Lin reportedly crashed around Lake Sentani that located between Jayapura Municipality and Jayapura Regency in Papua Province. The aeroplane took off at 6.27 a.m. local time and lost contact two minutes after take-off. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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