by West Papua Media
September 30, 2012
Troops from the Indonesian army (TNI) and Australian-trained Detachment 88 counter-terror unit conducted a major raid on Saturday against activists from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Wamena, according to several credible sources in the West Papuan highland town.
The raid on the secretarial office of KNPB Baliem Region at the Potikelek complex in Wamena, just before 6pm on Saturday night, resulted in the arrests of 8 KNPB members. Sources reported to West Papua Media that at least two platoons each of TNI, D88 and regular Police (arriving in 2 trucks, 11 vehicles and 14 motorbikes) were involved in the raid, with many detainees being subjected to brutal beatings and on-the-spot interrogations by security forces according to independent witnesses.
According to Simon Dabi, the Baliem region chairman of KNPB, the troops “said tomorrow they will return and burn the hut.”
“We are not aware of the reason for the arrests, but there’s a possibility it could be connected to a scenario that’s been created to make out KNPB activists to be terrorists, by connecting us to the recent bombing in Irian Road, Wamena,” explained a clearly exasperated Dabi, relayed through KNPB sources.
Those confirmed arrested are:
• KNPB Secretary General (Baliem Region) Janus Wamu (aged 26);
• Eddo Doga (aged 26);
• Irika (Ribka) Kosay (aged 19);
• Jusuf Hiluka (aged 52);
• Yan Mabel (aged 24);
• Amus Elopere (aged 22);
• Wioge (Nata) Kosay (aged 18);
• Melianus Kosay (aged 29);
Grave fears are currently held for the safety of the detainees, who were taken for interrogation to the Wamena Regional Police headquarters under the command of Jayawijaya Regional Police Chief Arivin. Simon Dabi told stringers that the arrest was carried out arbitrarily and without proper legal procedure and those arrested “are at present in an unsafe situation”.
West Papua Media repeatedly attempted to seek comment from the operation commander Kapolres Arivin, and written questions were submitted to clarify details of the raid, however, Arivin hung up twice upon answering and then switched his phone off.
The Papua-wide General Chairperson of KNPB, Victor Yeimo, also urged the Chief of Jayawijaya Regional Police to release the KNPB members. “I have just telephoned direct but the phone was unanswered, so I was only able to send an SMS to the Head of Regional Police to insist that the 8 young ones I am responsible for, be immediately released as their action (in arresting the 8) is uncivilized and improper” asserted Yeimo.
Yeimo ridiculed the police assertion that the arrested activists were involved in the attack on the police station, or in making or using bombs, or engaging in acts of terror. “West Papuan people are not involved with these bombs, and still do not know how to make bombs,” Yeimo told West Papua Media. KNPB has previously and publicly pledged its commitment to non-violence, saying that it is committed to the use of “civil power”
KNPB members have reason to be concerned for the safety of their colleagues. On September 23, 6 local youth members of KNPB were arrested, tortured and beaten in arbitrary arrests following an apparently suspicious death of an Indonesian colonist, and then all released without charge. “Having done no wrong, KNPB activists are constantly being chased, arrested, intimidated and killed by NKRI (the Indonesian state),” said Yeimo.
Members of the KNPB have also been subject to an escalating wave of repression by Indonesian security forces across Papua, since the beginning of an anti-violence civil resistance campaign earlier in 2012, in response to a series on mysterious “unknown persons” (OTK) shootings that had killed over 20 people since 2011. These shootings, widely believed across Papuan civil society to be the work of Kopassus Indonesian special forces creating violence to be used as a pretext for a declaration of martial law, peaked with the brazen daylight execution by Detachment 88 officers of KNPB Jayapura Chairman Mako Tabuni on June 6 this year,
After his appearance on a major report on Australia’s ABC TV describing the tactics of the Detachment 88 state terror campaign against Papuan non-violent activists, Victor Yeimo, found himself with other KNPB members on the Daftar Pencarian Orang (Wanted persons list) in a clear retaliation for speaking out to the international community.
In recent weeks, many non-violent activists engaging in peaceful acts of political expression across Papua have been targeted by security forces including those from D88.
Saturday’s so-called “anti-terror” raid in Wamena is the first major raid since the former head of Detachment 88 Tito Karnavian was appointed as the new police chief in West Papua. Karnavian loudly promised a new “hearts and minds approach” to reducing violence across Papua, and “vowed to take a grassroots approach to stopping the violence”. However, according to Papuan activists across the occupied territory, it seems that the only approach is the intensification of repression of grassroots people.
- Police torture students after brutal attack on Abepura university dormitory (westpapuamedia.info)
- So, who is the real terrorist? West Papua Responses to Australia, U.S. and Indonesia (westpapuamedia.info)
- KNPB urge police to stop brutality against Papuans (westpapuamedia.info)
- KNPB ask police to prove what charges were against Mako Tabuni (westpapuamedia.info)
- All the ingredients for genocide: is West Papua the next East Timor? (westpapuamedia.info)
- Activists threatened with twenty years jail for organising a nonviolent march about media freedom in West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- Fear, Grief and Hope in Occupied West Papua (intercontinentalcry.org)
- Bishop wants Papuans to hold dialogue before any dialogue with Indonesia (westpapuamedia.info)
- WEST PAPUA: ABC report raises questions for region’s leaders (westpapuamedia.info)
- KNPB: Buchtar Tabuni should be transferred to hospital for medical treatment (westpapuamedia.info)