Oil Palm companies in Nabire using Brimob to terrorise local villagers


August 25, 2015

By Santon Tekege for West Papua Media

Nabire based human rights activist Gunawan Inggeruhi has stated that an oil palm company managed by PT New Nabire and PT SAD, has caused uneasiness amongst citizens of Wami and Sima, Yaur district, in Nabire region.

Citizens in this area have been falsely and maliciously stigmatised by the companies as being suspected OPM (Free Papua Movement) members or activists, with the result that they are constantly made frightened and anxious by security forces.

Joint Brimob/TNI sweep team in Nabire oil Palm plantations. Photo:FIle
Joint Brimob/TNI sweep team in Nabire oil Palm plantations. Photo:FIle

On 4 January 2015, paramilitary BRIMOB police forces arrested a villager who is the traditional landowner of the location, by the name of Otis Waropen (aged 34 years). He was arrested at the PT New Nabire oil palm company plantation in the village of Wami in Yaur District, Nabire. In a  direct telephone interview on 22 August 2015, Waropen revealed that he was arrested by BRIMOB police on “suspicion resulting from stigmatisation of being an OPM member,”  and “on suspicion of making a movement of troublemakers in the vicinity of the PT New Nabire Oil Palm plantation.”

“It is not only (waropen) who has experienced such stigmatisation from BRIMOB who are acting as the protectors of that oil palm company,” Gunawan Inggeruhi told me.

“Many citizens who claim their traditional customary land rights, asking for the company to be closed and its license to operate be revoked, have been accused of being OPM members and ‘part of a movement of troublemakers’.  When in fact the reality is that those who make trouble and terrify the village community in Wami and Sima are the Papuan BRIMOB forces.”

Inggeruhi explained, “Citizens previously lived in this area in a peaceful and calm atmosphere.  These people are not OPM and they are not making some sort of opposition or troublemaker movement against the oil palm companies (PT New Nabire or PT SAD Perkasa).”

He described how most observers perceive that the actions of the Police and the Companies “are themselves making anarchy and intentionally killing the freedom of the people,” and creating fear amongst the people, even arresting and imprisoning them.

Inggeruhi went on to say that “All entrances into the plantation are guarded strictly and protected by Papuan BRIMOB Police. There’s around 50 BRIMOB armed forces there and they are assisted by intelligence personnel, all the way along the road from Wanggar until the village of Sima.”

“If we go to that location BRIMOB chase us and spy on us all the way along that road.”  Inggeruhi said that even himself had been chased and spied on in that area.

The community feels most oppressed by the presence of PT Nabire Baru and PT SAD Perkasa in the area with BRIMOB forces supporting them. He added that “the local government is indifferent over the closure of the space experienced by local residents and their inability  to move freely around in their own local area.”

He is urging the Papuan Police to immediately withdraw their BRIMOB forces from the area of the oil palm companies, and called that the oil palm plantations of PT Nabire Baru in Wami, and PT SAD Perkasa in Sima in the Yaur District of Nabire should cease immediately.

The Writer is a pastoral worker in the diocese of Timika, Papua.

Jubi: Brimob Accused of Mistreating 15 Students in Intan Jaya

Mobile Brigade (Brimob) snipers posing whilst in Intan Jaya, West Papua, Feb 27, 2011 – File photo, originally supplied to West Papua Media by Brimob source in March 2011

Jayapura, Jubi – Melianus Duwitau, a student from Intan Jaya, accused a number of Brimob personnel from Destatemen C Biak serving in Intan Jaya District, of attacking 15 students while opening fire at Sugapa, Intan Jaya capital.

“There were bruises on the forehead, head injuries, and a broken jaw as a result of beatings with rifle butts. Two people, Venus Sondegau and Victor Belau are now being  treated at Sugapa hospital,” he said via a short message to the Jubi from Sugapa on Monday (17/8/2015 ).

No reports have been received of any students sustaining injuries from gunfire, which is believed to have been warning shots.

He explained the incident occurred about 12:00 after the ceremony of Independence Day in the Sogopaki field.

He said the incident began at 11:30 when students wanted to block the airport so that the local officials would not leave Intan Jaya after the ceremony.  “Students wanted to block the airport because the local officials often fly to Nabire and other cities out of town,” he added.

Dominikus Surabut, a Papuan activist, said such events actually should not have happened. If that happens, there is the impression that the state apparatus take people’s money out of the town for their benefits.
“The local authorities should look at the problem, then talk to them. Don’t shoot them. Violence will never solve the problem,” he said in Jayapura, Papua, on Tuesday (18/08/2015). (Mawel Benny/ Tina)

The West Papua solidarity movement rejects Reclaim Australia: Public Statement

Public Statement by the West Papua movement in Australia

27 July 2015

We the undersigned are part of a national solidarity network supporting a free West Papua. We publicly disassociate ourselves from the anti-Muslim and anti-refugee views of Reclaim Australia, the United Patriotic Front, Rise Up Australia and others who associate with these groups. We extend a warm welcome to Muslims and refugees, many who are also West Papuan.

As a national solidarity network with regional and international links, our practice in the past has been to confine our public advocacy solely to West Papua and not get drawn into other issues. We are speaking out now because recently Paul Madden, a non-Papuan leader of the Free West Papua Party spoke at the Reclaim Australia rally in Perth. According to posts on Facebook, West Papua solidarity activists also attended a Reclaim Australia rally in Cairns. Mr Madden and some of his associates used Reclaim Australia rallies and their social media network to recruit members for the Free West Papua Political Party that he helps lead. The decision to associate with Reclaim Australia, Rise Up Australia, the United Patriotic Front and the other groups that make up the Far Right is a mistake. It is divisive and counterproductive: it misrepresents the free West Papua solidarity movement in Australia; it undermines the free West Papua movement inside West Papua; and, it employs the very methods of religious and racial vilification we oppose.

West Papuan leaders and the Australian solidarity movement do not support Reclaim Australia’s anti-Muslim and anti-refugee agenda. We are a movement for freedom in West Papua. We are against a racist and colonial system. We are not against any particular religion or ethnic group. We align ourselves politically with Indigenous people, pro-democracy forces in Indonesia, people from the Pacific and others striving for the common good. We respect people’s right to free speech and reject any association with Reclaim Australia.

West Papua supporters in Australia are a diverse group. We are from both sides of the political fence. We come from a range of religious traditions. Some of us are avowedly secular and some of us are people of faith. Some of us were born here. Some of us came to Australia as migrants or refugees. We are for freedom, peace and justice in West Papua, and better relationships between the people of West Papua, Indonesia, Australia and the region. As a group we stand against slow motion genocide in West Papua that is aided by the Australian Government that continues to arm and train the Indonesian military. We also campaign against Australian corporations who continue to exploit West Papua’s resources. Associating with Reclaim Australia is undermining the unity of purpose of the West Papua solidarity movement.

The conflict in West Papua is not a Muslim-Christian conflict. It is a conflict between the occupier and the occupied, between those who seek to deny West Papuans their rights and West Papuans defending and claiming those rights. The movement for freedom in West Papua includes many Indigenous Muslim leaders, people like Thaha Al-Hamid as well as senior journalists and NGO activists. The free West Papua movement inside West Papua also includes Muslim communities in places like Fak Fak, Sorong and Kaimana. Many of these Muslim leaders have been jailed, even killed, for the cause of freedom. For more than one hundred years Muslims and Christians in West Papua have co-existed in peace. West Papua activists living in West Papua and Indonesia are also working with pro-democracy forces in Indonesia who are Muslim, who understand the political roots of the conflict and support West Papuans’ right to freedom.

Much of the violence by the Indonesian military and police in West Papua is reinforced by racism: a belief that an entire ethnic group is fundamentally inferior. Militia groups like Laskar Jihad, Barisan Merah Putih, LMRRI and the Islamic Defenders Front use the cover of religion to vilify and physically attack West Papuans, even those with no association with the independence movement. The Indonesian security forces are often behind these attacks. Freedom of expression and association is denied. The persecution of West Papuans as an ethnic group and pro-independence West Papuans on the basis of their ethnicity, religious or political beliefs is one of the roots of violence in West Papua.

The Indonesian and West Papuan people are weary of race and religion being used to stir up conflict. For decades religious and political leaders in West Papua – both Muslim and Christian – have been combating religious and nationalist extremism. They have been working to create West Papua as a land of peace and for the most part they have been successful. When the neighbouring Malukan Islands was engulfed in sectarian violence West Papua stayed calm.

Tension between some elements of Islam and Christianity is a fact in West Papua, as it is elsewhere in the world. To date West Papua has been largely free of the inter-religious violence due to the excellent leadership of both communities; however, there are shadowy forces ready to foment trouble in West Papua and this danger is increasing. As Australian advocates for peace in West Papua we support the many Papuan and Indonesian people of both the Christian and Muslim faith that are engaged in trying to resolve or mitigate the conflict. We expressly reject religion being used as a tool to extend or redefine the nature of the West Papuan conflict which boils down to the survival of the Papuan people in the face of overwhelming non-Papuan migration and dispossession of their land and resources via military occupation.

So when a small group of Australian leaders of the Free West Papua Party align themselves with a group that is perceived as being anti-Muslim they play into elements in Indonesia and West Papua that would like to incite sectarian violence in West Papua. They play into the hands of those who would like to give a free reign to the Indonesian police and military to arm and organise nationalist militias in order to crack down on pro-independence activists just like they did in East Timor.

The free West Papua movement rejects spreading fear and hate against any group on the basis of their beliefs or identity. Vilification of Muslims as a social group, Islam as a religion or the use of racism in any guise has no place in our movement. This position is supported by West Papuan leaders inside and outside the country.

Although Mr Madden apologised via Facebook last week, that apology made no mention of the FWPP’s willingness to disassociate from Reclaim Australia. Therefore, we – the undersigned – ask Mr Madden to discontinue the formation of the FWPP and to step down as its spokesperson. Once that has occurred we are happy to continue working with Mr Madden and his associates for the benefit of the West Papuan people.


Name Affiliation
Jason MacLeod West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane and West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney
Camellia Webb-Gannon West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney and Australia West Papua Association – Sydney
Peter King West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney
Jim Elmslie West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney
Dave Arkins Australian West Papua Association – South Australia
Peter Arndt West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
Jacob Rumbiak United Liberation Movement for West Papua
Anne Noonan Australian West Papua Association – Sydney
Joe Collins Australian West Papua Association – Sydney
Matthew Jamieson Institution for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights
Nick Chesterfield – Editor, and our researchers, translators, and journalists West Papua Media
Stephen Rangihuna Free West Papua Campaign – Sydney
Ronny Kareni and Airileke Ingram Rize of The Morning Star
Melkias Okoka, Erwin Bleskadit and Joe Wally 3CR Voice of West Papua
Alfonsius Adadikam and Sixta Kareni Victoria West Papuan Community
Ricard Rumbiak and Adolf Mora Morning Starz Football Club
Amos Wainggai, Peter Elaby and Anselmus Pisakai Black Orchid Stringband
Natalie Adadikam and Babuan Mirino DFAIT West Papua Women’s Office
Lea and Petra Rumwaropen Black Sistaz (singers)
Izzy Brown West Papua Freedom Flotilla
Dan Field Surfers for West Papua
Uncle Kevin Buzzacott Elder from Arabunna Nation in South Australia
Wiwince Pigome Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua (International representative based in Perth)
David Bridie Wantok Music
Don Stewart Australia West Papua Association – South West Victoria
Mary Lancaster Australia West Papua Association – South West Victoria
Peter D Jones War Resisters International (Australia), Hobart, Tasmania
Cindy Watson Australians for a Free West Papua’, Darwin
Lola Forester Koori Radio
Dominik Kanak Cr. Waverley Council
Anthony Ash Brennan Yatte Yattah films
Marilyn Woodward Australia West Papua Association – South West Victoria

Trial starts for two people arrested on demonstration at PT Permata Putera Mandiri’s offfice.

from our partners at AwasMIFEE


Aksi-PT.PPM-1On 15th May this year, dozens of students and others from the Iwaro ethnic group from Metamani and Inanwatan in South Sorong Regency, staged a protest action with banners and speeches, blocking the offices of oil palm company PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM), on Jalan Ahmad Yani, Sorong City, West Papua Province.

According to Simon Soren, one of the participants on the action, “the people were demanding that PT PPM offer a solution to the problems of land grabbing, the destruction of the forest and sago groves, illegal logging and an unfair level of compensation, and indications that illegal exploration for oil and gas were also taking place”.

The company refused to meet with the demonstrators, and then police from the Sorong City station, who were already present at the area, broke up the action and arrested dozens of participants. After questioning, several detainees were released little by little, until eventually only two people were being held: Obed Korie and Odie Aitago from Puragi village, Metamani District, South Sorong.

On 14th July 2014, Obed Korie and Odie Aitago attended the first session of their court process at the Sorong District Court, where the prosecution read out the accusations. According to Loury Dacosta, their legal support who attended that session, “Prosecutor Ola Dimara read out the accusations which formed the basis of charging the two people under article 170 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, which refers to violence towards persons or property, and carries a threat of a five year prison sentence”.

Justice appears to be very distant for the victims of PT PPM: the company has not met their demands, and now on the contrary the victims of development are criminalised by the government.

The ANJ Group’s business in South Sorong

PT PPM is a subsidiary company of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya (ANJ) Group, owned by business tycoon George Tahija. ANJ also owns two other oil palm plantations in South Sorong and nearby Maybrat, PT Putera Manunggal Perkasa (PMP and PT Pusaka Agro Makmur (PAM). The ANJ Group also owns PT ANJ Agri Papua which is engaged in exploiting sago forests and in the sago processing industry, with operations between Metamani and Kokoda districts in South Sorong.

Before being acquired by the ANJ Group, the three oil palm companies were believed to be owned by Jakarta-based PT Pusaka Agro Sejahtera with the majority of the shares held by foreign companies (most likely offshore holding companies). 90% of the shares in PT PPM were owned by Xinfeng Pte Ltd, and 90% of PT PMP was owned by Xinyou Plantation Pte Ltd, both based at the same address at 30 Cecil St, Singapore. In January 2014, these shares were transferred to the AnJ Group. PT PAM, whose shares were registered in the name of another Singapore-based company Wodi Kaifa Ltd, was acquired by the ANJ Group in October 2014.

The company obtained the land for their plantations through mechanisms based on Indonesian state law, ignoring local customary law mechanisms. This actually contravenes the provisions of the 2001 law concerning special autonomy for Papua, which state that if any party requires access to customary land, a meeting of indigenous people must take place to reach a consensus decision before any permits to operate or land title may be granted.

Local indigenous people, who actually have control and title over the land and forest are never involved in land acquisition, including in this case involving PT ANJ. The process of land acquisition takes place furtively and without transparency, with police and military involvement, and without the community having the opportunity to understand or find out what the wider impacts of forest clearance might be.

Land acquisition and compensation documents reveal that the average compensation paid is 75,000 Rupiah per hectare (US$6), with a stipulation that the land will be used for the duration of the company’s operational permit, 35 years. This amount is extremely unfair if compared to the benefits the community would otherwise obtain from forest products in the area. The company on the other hand, will receive huge profits from its exploitation of forest products and large-scale land management.

Source: http://pusaka.or.id/demo-menuntut-pt-ppm-dua-warga-dipidanakan/