ALDB: On 17 August, Freedom for Papua?


Since the beginning of August 2011, Papuan people have been confronted
by a series of violent actions, which have occurred one after the other.
On some occasions, activities in the community have stopped altogether
then its back to normal, with people going to their offices, to the
market, to school and to places of worship. There is hardly anywhere
that can be said to be safe. No one seems to be sure that Jayapura is safe.

Since 1 August, nothing has been normal. Shots were fired at vehicles on
11 and 15 August in Abe Pantai. On 16 August at crack of dawn, flags
were flown and there were attacks against civilians in BTN Tanah Hitam
Soon afterwards, people were chased while there were armed clashes from
5.30am till 11am. There was panic and children were sent home from
school. No one could guarantee that these acts of violence would end
some time soon.

Police and army have been seen driving in patrol vehicles on the
streets, while soldiers have been seen in cars or walking in the street
with rifles at the ready. Apart from all this, unknown people have been
mobilised in public places, not in great numbers but such things have
never happened before.

Armed violence in Papua has been occurring not only in places like
Puncak Jaya or around the Freeport mine but also in Jayapura, especially
in Abepura, Tanah Hitam, Nafri and its surroundings.Violence has even
come close to our homes. One colleague said: ‘Be careful when leaving
home because you could become a victim because these sporadic actions
are being targeted against anyone in order to spread fear.’

People are afraid that these acts of violence are aimed at creating the
conditions for a major incident that is about to occur. The thing to be
avoided at all costs is for these acts of provocation to lead to a
horizontal conflict.

The location of the incidents and the close sequence of the events has
spread fear among people, with strange ideas spreading because those
responsible are still roaming freely even though operations have been

‘It’s all a question of politics,’ said a driver in Arso13 who had a bad
personal experience because of the event on 1 August in Nafri. He had
passed through Nafri one hour earlier on his way to market and was also
taking his sick brother to Jayapura for treatment. Another trader said:
‘Why is it so difficult to catch the perpetrators when the incidents
occurred near a garden or in a residential area?’

These two people may not be able to analyse these events but what they
are saying is representative of the thoughts of people who simply do not
understand why ordinary people can be the target of acts of violence.
When they speak like this, it means that they want the government to
deal with the problems being faced by their fellow citizens. These
people are not just a statistic; they are an important component for
creating peace in Papua. They are calling on the government to do
something serious to protect its citizens.

During investigations by a joint team set up by the army and the police
consisting of about 300 people, the police identified nineteen people
who will be charged for the Nafri incident on 1 August, based on a
document that was discovered when they were hunting a group in the Nafri
mountains which is alleged to be the place where members of the TNP/OPM
led by Danny Kogoya are active. He is also alleged to have been
responsible for the Nafri incident in November 2010. Those who were
responsible must have been very clever indeed because those incidents
occurred in a very public place and within a very short period.

Whatever is being done to solve these cases of violence in Papua is a
great mystery. Even in the case of incidents that occurred in an open
place like Nafri, the perpetrators have not yet been caught .Things are
much more problematic in places like Tingginambut in Puncak Jaya. All
this is a great challenge to the capability of the police. In other
parts of the country, they have been praised for their ability to combat
terrorism with support from various international agencies. But what is
happening in Papua is a paradox..

Can we be sure about the way the police are handling these acts of
violence here in Papua? Are they themselves confident of their ability
to deal with these acts of violence? They need maximum support to ensure
that the results of their investigations will lead to formal proceedings
in a court of law.

17 August is the 66th anniversary of Indonesian independence. The
red-and-white flag will be flying everywhere to mark the day of
independence, but in our hearts there is nothing but fear. It is the
responsibility of the civil government to deal with all these acts of
violence in Papua instead of busying themselves all the time with the
election of the governor. Without realising it, their authority is
simply reduced to concerns about their political interests while
reproducing provocations that lead to acts of violence.

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

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