Military commander: Papua wont be free as long as the army remains there

Bintang Papua, 20 July 2010


The military commander of the Cenderawasih Military Command,
Major-General Hotma Marbun, said that the aspirations of some groups of
people to secede from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia –
NKRI – will never be achieved as long as the Indonesian army remains in

‘As long at the army is in Papua, there will be no merdeka,’ he told the
press, after attending a meeting.with the governor.

The two-star general said that as long as the army remains there and
pursues its state duties in accordance with its assignment from the
state and the mandate from the Indonesian people to safeguard the
territorial integrity of the NKRI, the territory of Indonesia will
remain whole.

He referred to an incident when shots were fired against the security
forces as well as against civilians in Mulia, the district of Puncak
Jaya, which resulted in a number of casualties; regardless of whether
this was an act of subversion, security in the region is still the
responsibility of the police force, while the army only has a supporting

‘If the incident is an act of subversion whatever their objectives, it’s
a different matter, as there may be orders from the centre, if the aim
is to achieve meredeka, but there wont be any such thing as merdeka
until such time as we are ordered by the president to leave Papua and
then the army will go home and the police will go home. Then it will be
up to them to get merdeka or whatever they like,’ he said.

He was speaking during a recent visit to Puncak Jaya.

He said that conditions in the district of Puncak Jaya, especially in
Tingginambut, which is often referred to as the base of an armed
movement, have gradually been restored to normal.

Asked whether he thought that there would be no more shooting in Puncak
Jaya, the commander said the army can provide no guarantee that the
actions of the armed group have come to an end. ‘They are just a group
of individuals; they have got hold of weapons without a licence.’

He went on to say that the only citizens who may possess weapons are
people in possession of a licence. Anyone possessing weapons withough
permission will be arrested by the police. ‘Even members of the army are
not all permitted to take out their weapon unless they are on duty or
involved in special activities.’

Tingginambut is still the responsibility of the police which means that
the army has only a supporting role, the commander said.

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