OPM condemns shooting of Papuan in Keerom

Bintang Papua, 22 August 2011The Papuan National Liberation Army, the military wing of the OPM has condemned the shooting dead in Arso 14, district of Keerom of a Papuan named Dasnum Komba which occurred on 17 August. According to the TPN/OPM Komba died after being shot by members of the 330 infantry brigade (Yonif 330) which is based in the area.[See our translation of a report by ELSHAM about the failure of Komba to return home from his garden which we posted yesterday.]

‘We strongly condemn this killing and call on President Susilo Bambang  Yudhoyono to take action to solve the Papuan issue,’ said Lambert Pekikir, general co-ordinator of the TPN/OPM in the area..

He called on the police in the area as well as the military commander of the Cenderawasih Military Command, Major-General Erfi Triassunu to arrest the perpetrator of this crime and deal with the case in accordance with the law. ‘The military commander and the police must take responsibility for this case. He was apparently shot because he was suspected of being a member of an armed unit. ‘The shooting happened while the victim was working in his garden which is not far from Arso 14.’

Suddenly a large group of soldiers arrived at the spot and started asking him questions. Because he could not speak Indonesian very well, they started to beat him. ‘Then the victim was shot, his body was put into a sack and buried nearby. Some people who happened to be nearby saw the incident  but were afraid to do anything because it would have meant confronting a member of the military, so they went to informed Komba’s family.’

‘Since this happened on 17 August, Indonesia’s independence day, it was not reported (in the press). ‘The incident has been covered  up but the fact is that he was shot in the chest. Lambert did not see the incident himself but received a report from some of his subordinates and also heard about it from a local inhabitant. ‘We dont want any more incidents like this. It must stop,’ said Lambert.

He said that the president, SBY, should understand that this is not just a trivial incident, and should realise that Papua has now become a matter of international concern.

Major-General Erfi Triassunu later confirmed that shots were fired by a member of the TNI- the Indonesian army – because they alleged that Komba was preparing to attack his men. He said he was not clear about what happened but claimed that Komba had tried to seize a weapon from his men who were on patrol in the area. According to Triassunu, his men could not possibly have shot someone at random. He said that the TNI has a ‘noble duty’ in Papua  and would not do such things, still less would they do it during Ramadan, the fasting month.

According to Bintang Papua, an autopsy confirmed that there weere fragments of ammunition in Komba’s body but the calibre of the bullets is not known. Witnesses said that Komba had been told  to go home by three soldiers, but just as he turned round, intending to return home, they heard two gunshots. His body was not found until Sunday, two days after the shooting.

The determination of West Papua’s future

A powerful photo of a young girl at an independence rally in Wamena, West Papua this month. The young generation in West Papua has the flames of justice running through their veins. The struggle will continue until West Papua is free. Credit: Alexsandr Potoisky, Baliem Valley 2011

A powerful photo of a young girl at a West Papua National Committee (KNPB) independence rally in Wamena, West Papua on August 2, 2011. The young generation in West Papua has the flames of justice running through their veins. The struggle will continue until West Papua is free.

Full photo essay from Russian photojournalist Alexsandr Potoisky http://sandr-87.livejournal.com/40271.html (in Russian, Google Translate may be necessary).

NB (2014 edit ): This photo has been shared massively and sold without credit to the original content creator, denying him funding to return to Papua and assist Papuan photojournalists. Please credit all content of West Papua subjects and origin, even for campaigning purposes. Each acknowledgement of intellectual property assists the support and development of indigenous media capacity. Each image shared or used for donations or marketing without acknowledgement, is the same plunder of indigenous West Papuan imagery as Indonesia does with Papuan culture, art, song, gold, oil, timber and blood. Please don’t be a plunderer. Acknowledge the provenance.

Paniai people call for a halt to the deployment of more troops

JUBI, 25 August 2011

Following the armed skirmishes between the Indonesian army and police with a group thought to be the TPN/OPM led by John Magay Yogi, and a number of mysterious shooting incidents, the towns of Enarotali and Madi in Paniai district are full of military personnel who have arrived from outside Paniai.  Although the situation was thought to have improved, the presence of military personnel has spread anxiety among the population.

The reason for the increased deployment of troops to Paniai may be to hunt down some weapons that were seized by unidentified persons from the police station in Komopa, sub-district of Agadide on 16 August.  Or is it because Paniai is regarded as an area of conflict which needs extra action on the security front?

Whatever the reason, the local people along with local government officials long for a peaceful Paniai and call for a halt to the dispatch of more military troops. The local people have called on the local military chief, the military commander of XVII/Cenderawasih military command as well as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to pull back these troops from the area.

A local community leader said: ‘Paniai is calm but many troops and police have been sent here. Is it because there is a war?’

According to Yafeth Y Kayame, head of the Suku Mee people, the additional deployment of many troops to Paniai has undermined the call for peace that was made last Saturday in Enarotali.. Local people have become more frightened than ever.

People are asking ‘Why have they come to Paniai? Enarotali and Paniai are not areas of conflict so the authorities must stop sending troops here.’ They have been arriiving here over the past four days, so who do they want to fight with? Or do they want to kill all of us here?’

The local administration should not keep silent but should take steps to safeguard security for the population. If it is only to re-capture two firearms, then the troops already here would surely be enough, without bringing in more troops, they say.

Many people think that the presence in the area of TPN/OPM forces in Eduda is being used as a justification to bring troops here from Jayapura and Nabire. According to some sources, in addition to infantry brigade 753/Arga Vira Tama Nabire, a Brimob company is also being deployed to Paniai.

Although this has been denied by Major-General Erfi Triassunu, the military commander of XVII/Cenderawasih military command, the fact is that these ‘new’ troops can be seen almost every day driving along the roads in convoys.

Meanwhile, anxiety has continued to spread among the local people and many have left their homes with a new exodus starting on Tuesday.

[Slightly abridged translation by TAPOL]

Arrival of troops spread panic, say church personnel

Jubi, 23 August 2011
The dispatch of troops by air and land via Nabire has caused panic in Paniai, said a nun working for the Catholic Church in Paniai who did not want her name to be made public.   The people from Paniai had just returned home following a firefight between TPN/OPM fighters and the security forces but left their homes again when they saw heavily armed Brimob troops arriving in the town, she said.

A church official said that some of those who had fled after the shooting had not returned home and their present whereabouts were not known.  ‘We think that some of them have fled to far-away kampungs. and dont want to return to the town which is full of heavily armed troops whose presence is very frightening,’ the official said.   They would only come back when the town had been cleared of the troops.   The church official said they were refusing to come back because they knew that the fighting had been a put-up job and they didn’t want to become casualties.

‘They have very good reason to be afraid,’ the official said, ‘because they know that the security forces have arrested a number of school children from the SMP and SMA [lower and upper middle schools] as well as some other young people. These youngsters were interrogated then ordered to do push-ups.   They were only released, after we went to the police station and asked for them to be released.’

Third Grand Papua Congress to be held this year

Bintang Papua, 22 August 2011

A national reconciliation team of the West Papuan people consisting of a number of organisations that have been outspoken in their views about the problems of the indigenous Papuan people as well as the policies of the government in Papua have announced that they will be convening the Third Grand Papuan Congress.

Speaking at a press conference at the office of Dewan Adat Papua, DAP,the Papuan Customary Council, Selpius Bobii, chairman of the team, accompanied by Forkorus Yaboisembut., the chairman of DAP, said that they were making
preparations to hold the Congress from 16 – 19 October 2011.

The theme of the Congress will be: ‘Affirming the basic rights of the indigenous Papuan people for the present and the future’. The Congress will to seek to take the Papuan people forward towards turning the Land of Papua into a paradise on earth, such as the Papuan people experienced before coming into contact with outsiders.

As part of the preparations of the Congress, the organising committee plan to meet the Indonesian President ‘This meeting is planned in order to officially inform him of plans to hold the Third Papuan People’s Congress.’ The DPRP, the Provincial Papuan Assembly will also attend this meeting, as representatives of the Papuan people. Selpius stressed that they would be meeting the President only to inform him of their plans. ‘Whatever attitude the government adopts, the Congress will go ahead,’ said Forkorus.

The Congress is the most senior body entitled to take decisions for the indigenous people. ‘All organisations of whatever kind, customary councils, ethnic groups as well as other organisations will be able to present their own agendas.’ The KNPB, the National Committee of the Papuan People, said that they plan to bring about changes that take will them forward to a Free Papua – Papua Merdeka.

The committee also urged the Indonesian government to implement the decisions of the grand meeting of the MRP – the Majelis Rakyat Papua – together with the indigenous Papuan people held on 9-10 June 2010 and to implement the pledge of the DPRP with regard to the Special Autonomy Law, involving the communities living in the Land of Papua as well as the provincial, regional and district assemblies.

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