Bintang Papua, 15 November 2010
Abridged in translation
Brimob should act professionally and be loved by the people
The commander of the Brimob unit in Papua has called on his men to avoid acts of violence in resolving problems that may arise. Speaking on the occasion of Brimob’s 65th anniversary, Police Commissioner Prasetyo said: ‘We need to be firm but without using violence. We may feel angry but we should not act in a spirit of anger.,’ he said.
Saying that these words were aimed at members of the force in Papua, he acknowledged that this would involve a process, over time. ‘It’s not something that is easy to do, like turning your hand upside-down and could take quite a long time.’
He said that the changes must start from the top. ‘We must set an example. We should not behave arrogantly towards the people but behave as leaders towards their subordinates, and stop beating up people.’
Measures were also being taken to reinforce the number of personnel and improve their equipment to ensure that they preserve security in those places where their presence is needed, without bringing in extra forces from elsewhere.
He referred to statements made recently by a number of Papuan leaders concerning the TNI (armed forces) and the police that had been reported in the media about the use of violence towards Papuans. He said that in principle, the presence of Brimob in these places was legitimate.’If any of our members behave incorrectly, then they should face sanctions,’ he said.
The national chief of police spoke abut the history of Brimob which was established in November 1946 as a special police force that had been active during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia. In 1961, Brimob was highly praised by President Suharto.
He said that the occurrence of many disturbances within the community meant that the presence of Brimob was necessary. It was, he said. a unit that was trained to handle all high-intensity disturbances of security.
[Comment: Brimob is a special unit of the Indonesian police force, Polri. Some years ago, it was decided that the Indonesian army, the TNI should take a back seat in West Papua and it would left to the police force to be in charge of maintaining ‘security’ in Papua. Members of the regular police force are frequently condemned in many parts of Indonesia for using violence against ordinary members of the public and for corruption. But as far as we know, it is only in Papua that Brimob has been brought in and deployed on a permanent basis.
As readers will know, several serious cases of the use of torture against Papuans have been condemned after being widely circulated on the internet, and several officers were last week tried before a military court and given very light sentences for these terrible crimes. Reports of these incidents have not identified which police units were involved but it is likely that the personnel involved were members of Brimob. TAPOL]