Tuesday, October 25, 2011


      Jakarta, Oct 25, 2011 (ANTARA) - Following a series of shooting incidents in Papua Province that killed several people, including Mulia Sector Police Chief Adjunct Commissioner Domminggus Awes, the Police Headquarters in Jakarta have deployed a number of officers in the country`s eastern-most province to defuse escalating tensions there.
       Two unidentified men snatched Dominggus Awes` pistol and used it to shoot him to death at Mulia airport in Puncak Jaya on Monday (Oct 24).

       Police said the two men who killed Dominggus belong to a separatist group and they escaped into the jungle.
      "We are now still chasing them," the head of the National Police`s public relations division, Inspector General Anton Bachrul Alam, said in Jakarta on Monday.
      The manhunt was led by the chief of the National Police Headquarters` security maintenance division, Commissioner General Imam Sudjarwo.
      Armed civilians burned a government office building in Wondeng Gobak hamlet in Mulia on Tuesday (Oct 25).
      Exchanges of fire between police officers and the armed civilian group continued to happen in Mulia city. The gun battles raged on after the body of Dominggus Awes, was flown to Sentani, Jayapura, on Tuesday afternoon.

A series of shooting incidents have terrorized PT Freeport employees since 2009, killing more than 10 people and injuring around 40 others.

Last Wednesday (Oct 19), the authorities dispersed the Third Papua People`s Congress last week leading to violent clashes that caused the death of several people.

Being concerned over the shooting incidents, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto has instructed law enforcing agencies in Papua to take stern actions against the perpetrators of the attacks.

He said the Unitary State of Indonesia is already final including the extension of a special autonomy status for Papua to accelerate development in the province.

Minister Djoko Suyanto also said the government, the security apparatus in particular, was paying special attention to unlawful separatist-flag-raising actions in Papua such as had recently happened outside Jayapura.

"In view of the dynamics of the events there, the TNI (military) is now on heightened alert. The illegal raising of the separatist OPM (Free Papua Organiztion) flag continues to happen there . We must be balanced (in seeing the facts)," Djoko said at the presidential palace here on Tuesday.

Djoko called on the public to understand that armed separatist elements there had also committed acts of violence. So, "do not only report about violence by the state`s apparatus. This is real. An officer has been attacked. Community members have been attacked. So, if police/TNI forces chase them, people must not connect it with other issues" he said, adding alertness had indeed been increased.

National Police Chief General Timur Pradopo has announced that all sector police offices in Papua Province, especially in Puncak Jaya District, are on alert status.

"All of them are on alert , particular;y in Puncak Jaya," General Timur said at the State Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday (Oct 25).

The National Police sent 170 personnel of its Mobile Brigade (Brimob) to Papua on Tuesday evening (Oct 25) following an escalation in tension in Mulia, Jayawijaya District.

Inspector General Anton Bachrul Alam said the deployment was necessary to anticipate a worse situation in Papua.

The National Police`s Criminal Investigation Department has also sent three teams to Papua to hunt the gunmen who had shot dead tje Mulia police chief, Dominggus Awes.

"The shooting of the Mulia police chief is still under investigation, and our three teams are there now to hunt the perpetrators," Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department (Kabareskrim) Commissioner General Sutarman said in Depok, West Java, on Tuesday (Oct 25).

Finding the assailants would be quite a challenge because of the forbidding geographic conditions in Papua, and therefore the police teams each consisted of 10 men who were familiar with the terrain in the country most-eastern province.

"To catch them, we need strong teams. We even need the assistance of TNI (National Defense Forces) to pursue them, as they might be hiding in the jungle," Sutarman said.

A battalion of the Police`s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) from Kelapa Dua, Depok, was also deployed to Papua, Tuesday (Oct 25). The battalion comprising 300 men would operate under directives of the Papua Provincial Police Chief.

Jayapura Police Resort Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Imam Setiawan said police would crush whoever supported separatist or subversive activities in the city.

"I said I will crush whoever supports separatist or subversive activities , no matter to which party the person belongs. I will forcefully disperse groups of such people like what I did yesterday," he said in Jayapura on Thursday (Oct 20), referring to the "Papua People`s Congress" recently which had turned into a forum supporting West Papua`s separation from the Republic of Indonesia.

He said that police and the military would not give any tolerance to anybody who wanted to disrupt the integrity of the state and intended to establish a state within the state.

Several organizations including the country`s largest Muslim mass organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), however, have urged the government to deal with the ongoing violence in Papua peacefully.

NU Chairman KH Said Aqil Siroj on Friday (Oct 21) asked the government to handle the problems in Papua "with dignity" and in a non-violent or humane manner devoid of "the security approach."

"They (Papuans) should be drawn into conversation, their problems addressed through the cultural, humane approach. Involve also the local civil society," he said.

He was commenting on Wednesday`s incident in Jayapura where police broke up a "Papua People`s Congress". A number of the meeting`s participants were arrested but at the same time a few people were found dead at locations away from the meeting`s venue.

"NU would deeply deplore the continued application of the security approach or violent methods in Papua, including in the handling of the Third Papua People`s Congress," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said it was worried that the crackdown on the Papua People`s Congress would be followed by en escalation in resort to violence in Papua.

"We are worried because a manhunt is still going on to catch people suspected of being OPM (Free Papua Organization) activists," Komnas HAM Chairman Ifdal Kasim said.

A number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) grouped in the National Solidarity for Papua have also urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to settle the Papua problem through sincere and peaceful dialogs that respect Papuan culture and dignity.

"We ask the government to immediately conduct a peaceful dialog to settle the Papuan problem and to reject the security approach," activist Usman Hamid from Kontras (Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence) said at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday (Oct 25).

He said the imposition of a top security alert status in Papua by the national chief had created the impression as if national security had been threatened by a coup and therefore such an approach was not appropriate.

"They should have used just a legal approach and dialogs as a way to settle the Papua problem and not deployed more forces in Papua as it would only worsen the situation there," he said.

The director of LBH Jakarta (Jakarta Legal Aid Institute), Nurkholis Hidayat, also asked the President to order the national police to immediately protect and create a sense of peace among the people of Papua.

The coordinator of Kampak Papua (the Anti-Corruption Papua Traditional People Community), Dorus Wokum, also said that dialog was the best way for settling the problem.

"What is clear is the Papuan people would appoint community and church figures to sit along with government officials to discuss the settlement of the Papua problem," he said.

He asked the government not to create negative sentiment on the Papuan people but to put forward dignity and peace.

The NGOs joining the National Solidarity for Papua include Kontras, Jatam, Kiara, Walhi, YLBHI, Kampak Papua, PGI, Imparsial, Elsam, IDSPS, Infid, ANBTI, Solidarity for Freeport Workers, ICTJ, KPA, Lembaga Bhineka. LBH Jakarta, SNUP, Demos and Sawit Watch.

A number of Papua figures in Jakarta on Thursday (Oct 20) stated they categorically rejected the holding of the Third Papua People`s Congress and its results.

The meeting was just a ploy of a handful of Papua Customary Council members who did not at all represent the majority of the people of Papua and West Papua, they said.

The dissenting Papua figures included Ramses Ohee who played an important role in the 1969 referendum that favored Papua`s integration into Indonesia, Hems Bonay, daughter of Papua`s first governor, Elieser Jan Bonay, and West Papua figure Umar Askad Sabuku.

They, however, also asked the government not to use violent means in handling the post-Papua People`s Congress situation. They urged the government to more seriously develop Papua in accordance with its status as a region enjoying special autonomy.

"If Papua`s special autonomy is implemented properly, I am sure that gradually significant changes for the better will happen in Papua and there will be reason for people there to talk about separation," said Frans Ansanay, a young Papua leader. ***3***


(T.F001/A/F001/A/A014) 26-10-2011 00:32:57

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