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Hundreds of Papuans hide in the woods after the death of TNI officer

January 7, 2016

jp07_soldier.jpg Hundreds of Papuans hide in the woods after the death of TNI officer

Hundreds of Papuans hide in the woods after the death of TNI officer
Nethy Dharma Somba,, Jayapura | Archipelago | Thu, January 07 2016, 7:01 PM –

Indonesian soldiers patrol the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border area during the simultaneous regional elections on Dec. 9, 2015 in Keerom regency, Papua. The elections saw an increase of security activities to prevent any security disturbances during the historic event. (Antara/Indrayadi) –

Hundreds of villagers in Mamberamo Raya in Papua have fled into the woods to live as they fear the Indonesian Military (TNI) will blame them for the death of an officer last year, a regional lawmaker said on Thursday.

A member of the Papuan House of Representatives (DPRP) Tan Wei Long said that at least 120 families from three villages — Namunaweja, Anggreso and Kasonaweja all in Mamberamo Raya regency — had fled into the forest in early December. The villagers were afraid of being arrested after the murder of Maj. John De Fretes by a group of people suspected of being part of an armed group in Namunaweja village in Mamberamo Tengah subdistrict on Nov. 30, 2015.

"They are afraid of being arrested for involvement in the criminal act. It [the murder] was carried out by rogue individuals, but they are scared of being dragged into the case so they ran away into the woods," he said in Jayapura on Thursday.

During the DPRP’s recess, Tan visited Memberamo Raya to meet with local officials, religious and community leaders as well as local security officers to discuss ways to persuade the 120 families to return to their village.

"All parties have agreed to use the persuasive approach with the people hiding in the forest," he said.

Separately, Papua’s Indonesian Christian Church’s (GKI) Rev. Albert Yoku urged the local government and security officers to find a solution soon considering that the villagers had been living in rough conditions in the forest for more than a month.

"The forest in Mamberamo Raya is not suitable for humans to live in. There are many leeches and not much food in the forest. They could starve," he said.

Yoku also urged that a persuasive approach be used to convince the villagers to return to their homes. He said that if the government did not take immediate action, it would cause other problems such as health issues and the children skipping school.

He suggested that the authorities search the forest carefully as the villagers were spread out in several locations in the forest.

Maj. John was shot dead by an armed group in late November after he visited Namunaweja upon hearing that a military wing of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) led by Cosmos Makabori had approached local villagers. He was accompanied by subordinates Lance Corp. Affan and Lance Corp. Simon Sopacua to meet with the villagers. However, as they arrived in Namunaweja, they were suddenly attacked by a group of people. John, who was also a local pastor, was tortured and shot with his own pistol by a member of the group while the two officers managed to escape.

Police have not identified the perpetrator.

After his death, the TNI promoted him to lieutenant colonel and covered the education costs of two of his children. (rin)(+)


Victor MamborJan 07, 2016

Wamena, Jubi – President Joko Widodo’s visit to Papua in late December 2015 failed to address the issue of human rights violations, rights activist and religious leader Pastor Jhon Djonga said.

Djonga, the religious leader in the Papua Central Highlands, said the president’s visit on 30 December failed to live up to his promise during his previous visit for campaigning in Papua to tackle rifgts issues.

“He talked about the development and infrastructure issues as promised and it was discussed during his visit in Wamena and other locations. I highly appreciate that he was very eager to build and develop Papua, but a little disappointed because he didn’t address the human right violations that occurred in Papua,” Father Djonga told reporters in Wamena on Tuesday (5/1/2015).

He said Widodo did not address many related issues of human rights violation during his visit to Papua, such as the unstable prices of goods that people experienced in the Central Highland, a number of mortality among people including children because of disease, the national program that is not suitable for Papuans, as well as the business opportunity that not taking sides to Papuans.

“Arbitrarily violence by security forces, Papuans arrested and accused as separatist, democratic space shut down, intimidation towards journalists, Tolikara case that only resulted suspects from citizens while the shooting perpetrators never been investigated, Paniai case that was drowned and many cases could not be answered by president,” he said.

Therefore he and other human rights activists urged the President Widodo to enforce the relevant minister to work hard to resolve the existing human rights cases, and the government to guarantee no longer human rights violation, to resolve the human rights violation cases impartially, to guarantee the freedom of press to make coverage, to guarantee people to express their voice, to investigate the cases of human rights violation thoroughly and to ensure all law enforcement and security operations could be transparent and accountable in its implementation.

“Hopefully people’s aspirations on human rights issues could be answered by Mr. President because if not him, to whom people could talk about this injustice,” he said.

Meanwhile, during in Wamena, the President Joko Widodo observed the road construction in Kenyam Village, Nduga Regency, which is one of the most isolated regions in Papua.

Besides being isolated, the road connecting Nduga and Wamena is located in the red zone or categorized as high-risk security area. The road construction is expected to improve this region. “Therefore, the road access is a must. The distribution of goods should be done and the prices must be cheaper,” Jokowi as cited from the release issued by Presidential Communication Team on Thursday, 31 December 2015. Widodo is targeting the road could be completed next year.

According to him, the conflict resolution in the isolated area is not always done through security approach, but regional development could be alternative solution, he said. “All roads in Papua should be connected in 2018,” he said.
In addition to road facility in Nduga Regency, the government also would build a large seaport in Mumugu. The construction of seaport is expected to ensure the distribution of logistics and goods in that area to be better. (Islami/dominggus/rom)


Victor MamborJan 07, 2016

Jakarta, Jubi – Director of Transports of State Ministry of National Development Planning/BAPPENAS Bambang Prihartono said railway and Trans Papua highway can reduce the prices of goods in the eastern Indonesia region by up to 50 percent.

He said in Jakarta on Tuesday (5/1/2015) that at national level, the development plan on land transport infrastructure would reduce three percent of logistics costs of Gross Domestic Product, while marine transports infrastructure could reduce four percent of GDP’s logistics costs. Papua is one of regions that contribute highest logistics costs, mostly due to poor access of land transports infrastructure.

Through the construction of two land transports infrastructure, namely railway and highway, BAPPENAS estimates its contribution in reducing the price of goods will up to 50 percent.

“Papua has the highest logistics costs. Based on the macro calculation, we estimate in Papua, the price of cement that currently at 1 million rupiahs could be reduced to 500,000 rupiahs,” he said.

He said that the Ministry of Transportation is still working to complete a feasibility study on train for Papua. This on going study will produce a master plan on train transportation in Papua. During this process, Bambang said, the Ministry of Transportation has set a first route that is Sorong-Manokwari.

“For the next route, we are still waiting the result of the study once it is completed, including its investment costs,” he said.

Bambang said Sorong-Manokwari route was designated because of the demand and the capacity to build train transportation in both cities are relatively high. The next route would be determined later based on the same criteria. Further, he said the Ministry of Transportation is also considering the spatial development plan of railway to not coincide with protected forest areas in Papua.

According to him, the feasibility study does take a long time to prevent contact with the protected forest areas and because of such constraints of Papua land surface dominated by mountainous land.

“So, it’s not easy, because there are many technical aspects needs to be corrected,” he said.

The train will function as passenger train and cargo train.

In addition of railway construction, the calculation of the price reduction up to 50 percent is also taking account the benefits of the construction of Trans Papua highway along 4,300 kilometers, which is targeted to be completed in 2018.

“In addition, the contribution of basic infrastructure development from Special Allocated Budget for Public Infrastructure could increase the reduction of the price of goods in Papua, he said. (*/rom)

Victor MamborJan 07, 2016

Jayapura, Jubi – The chairman of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua, Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, condemned recent violence, including the shooting of four civilians in Serui on 1 December, a man in Keerom on 20 December and the killings of police officers in Sinak on 26 December 2015.

“The Church is very concerned about these acts of violence. They are misbehavior, acts of terrorists, criminal and barbaric. We must condemn it. They must stop this barbaric act,” he said at Papua Baptist Synod Office in Abepura, Jayapura City, Papua on last week.

He said the shooting during the month of December has become common since the murder of Kelly Kwalik in Timika on 16 December 2009 that following by the murder of Hubertus Mabel in Wamena on 16 December 2012 and the murder of four high school students in Paniai on 8 December 2014, and the recent shooting incidents during December 2015.

“Security personnel opened fire without any particular reasons. It was said the victims were shot when trying to fight the officers or the officers did to protect themselves for being attacked. Or for a political reason, the victims were accused of a part of the Free Papua Movement (OPM),” he said.

Even if the authorities have a reason, Yoman said, anyone could not justify for murder for what any reason. “The death of human is the authority of God or because of being old,” said this Papuan figure who has written 15 books of Papuan history and struggle.

There are two purposes, said Yoman, in the two last years. The murders were occurred before the president’s visit to Papua. The murder over four high school students in Paniai was occurred before the President Joko Widodo’s visit to Papua to attend the National Christmas Event in Jayapura on 27 December 2014 and ahead his visit to Merauke, Wamena and Raja Ampat in 2015.

From here, he said, it clearly indicated a project of security management. He firmly said the state apparatus clearly take profit behind the reason of security and personnel deployment. “If not manage such situation, there is no project. So where would they take money?” said Yoman. The shooting, he said, was part of intelligent operations.

He said, the State wants to provoke reaction and justify Papuans and stigmatize Papuans as criminal, separatist and cruel after the counterattack along December.

“They want to say, ‘look the riots in Papua ahead the Christmas. They (security forces) want Papuans to give their reaction for give them a reaction in turn. They want the conflict grow bigger, but the murder could be done during December to eliminate any reactions,” he said.

Actually, the murder is no more that a mechanism or process to destroy the Melanesian ethnic in Papua, because the State want to take over the land and natural resources in Papua. “The State does not need the Papuans,” he said.

Earlier, the Coordinator of Solidarity for Human Rights Violation Victims Papua, Peneas Lokbere said the State’s violence that was occurred during December 2015 could not be separated from State’s previous violence. “The State is still judging Papuans as separatist, criminal in order to justify the murder perpetrated by state apparatus,” he said.

Lokbere further said it is made Papuans never proud to be part of Indonesia. Papuans are not comfort and enjoy their life as part of Indonesia since the forced integration in 1969.

“Papuans are not considered important and valuable, therefore they could shot them as they like. It is clearer that mostly those who shot the civilians never take on legal process seriously,” he said while citing the shooting of four high school students in Paniai 2014 that was occurred in front of eyewitnesses in the midday.

No wonder if the Rev. Yoman said a political dialogue is required because there is no other way to solve the problems in Papua. The problems in Papua are very complex; it was not only about the economic welfare, money, regional extension and infrastructure development, “Papuans do not need any of it. Papuans needs a political dialogue approach. Papuans and the Indonesian Government must sit together and be equal in a dialogue facilitated by a neutral third party,” he said.

He said, the third party could be a state, non-state (churches, NGOs and regional organizations) and a public figure. “Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Island Forum could be a mediator of dialogue,” he said. (Mawel Benny/rom)

5) Sinak community declares its opposition to OPM
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Thu, January 07 2016, 3:07 PM –

The community in Sinak district has declared its opposition to the presence of the National Liberation Army/Free Papua Movement (TPN/OPM), a Papuan separatist group, and will impose customary sanctions against residents who are found accommodating or harboring the rebels.

The declaration was made, according to Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, because the community in Sinak are tired of disturbances, especially the attack and murder of security personnel.

“The community there strongly object to the group’s presence and will not allow members to enter their villages. Residents are now guarding their villages and helping authorities to locate and capture the perpetrators who shot and killed three members of the Sinak District Police,” Paulus said on Wednesday.

First approved by tribal chief Daibenus Murib and religious leader Zakarias Tabuni and witnessed by Sinyo and Sinak District Military Command chief First Let. Yusuf Rumi, the declaration letter was handed to Waterpauw by the 12 village chiefs and Sinak District Police Second Insp. Sinyo R. Walean.

“If any of the residents of the 12 villages in Sinak district are found to be harboring, providing food or providing the TPN/OPM rebels with a place to stay, we, on behalf of the residents of the 12 villages, will impose customary fines,” reads part of the declaration statement.

The Sinak District Police station was attacked by 25 members of the armed civilian group on Dec. 26, 2015. Three police officers were killed while two others were injured. The group also managed to seize seven firearms and a box of ammunition.

Waterpauw was in Sinak on Tuesday to provide support to the security personnel who have been conducting the manhunt and providing food aid to local residents.

The manhunt, added Paulus, was being conducted in order to accelerate the capture of the armed civilian group.

He said that the Papua Police will cooperate with Cenderawasih Military Command chief Maj. Gen. Hinsa to develop a strategy for the manhunt.

Paulus has asked for community-wide support to help capture members of the group who have caused unrest among residents and disturbed development in Sinak.

“Residents don’t have to lift arrows against the group, but simply guard the area and report their presence to authorities,” he said.

Papua legislative speaker Yunus Wonda expressed a similar stance, asking that the community cease to show support for the armed group.

Papua People’s Assembly chairman Matius Murib expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the actions taken by the criminal group had not made the people of Papua prosperous but instead interrupted development and thus reinforced poverty.

“People have long yearned for development, but the group continues to create disturbances. How can people benefit from development, like other people, if such security disturbance continues?” said Murib.

Murib urged the community to work together with the authorities to expel the group from their region.

“Just provide the authorities with information. Residents don’t have to fight because information is adequate. The security personnel will face the rebels,” said Murib.

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