Indonesian naval officer pressures corruption busting environmental NGO in Papua

The following report was received from the Executive-Director of LP3BH, Yan Christian Warinussy regarding harassment of Human & Environmental rights Defender Max Binur by an  Indonesian Naval Officer.

Monday 15 July 2013
(Editor’s Note: Max Binur heads a hard working grassroots environmental NGO in Sorong that was instrumental in documenting and exposing major issues surrounding illegal logging and security force corruption, and together with the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) exposed the infamous case of the “trillion rupiah cop,” First Adjunct Inspector Labora Sitorus.  Sitorus  was arrested in May following the discovery of a massive illegal logging and smuggling operation worth over US$150m. see
At 11am, someone came to see me who said that he wanted to meet an official of Belantara Papua (This could be translated as the ‘Papuan Jungle’) He was riding on a motorbike  which he parked in front of the office. Because the front door was closed, he went to the back of the house and opened a side door and shouted: ‘There’s someone here who wants to meet you.’When this person entered the office, I was in  a room which is where children play together (singing and painting) When I heard my son calling,  I went up to him together with the visitor who was now standing in the kitchen. When the fellow greeted me, I responded to his greetings. I asked him who he wanted to see. He said that he had come from the naval base in Sorong and wanted to meet some officials from Belantara Papua.I asked him to leave the kitchen  and enter the house through the front door, whereupon he  left the kitchen and went to the front door. I had meanwhile gone into the main room in the office and invited him to enter.

We shook hands and I asked him to sit down.

When I asked him where he was from, he said: ‘I am a member of the Indonesian Navy in Sorong.and I want to meet someone from  the executive of Belantara Papua.’

When I asked him what he wanted, he said that he was hoping to meet someone from Belantara Papua and was hoping that it would be possible for us to work together.

Then he went on to say the following:

‘I know about Balantara from the Internet and I have been looking for its address for almost two weeks’

He then explained at great length how it was that he had met people an international organisation (CI) in Raja Ampat and found out about its programme (Christian Thebu).  He met the chairman of a civil society organisation (LMA Malamoi Silas Kalami) and had also met Ferdiel from Yayasan Penyu Papua.

I asked him how long he had been working in Sorong, to which he replied: ‘Only two weeks,’ adding that he had just moved here from Jakarta.

When we asked him whether he knew Abner Korwa, he said he had found out about Abner Korwa on the Internet and realised that he was an environmental activist. When he asked us whether Abner Korwa was at the office, I told him that Korwa does not work for Belantara but spends most of his time working at home

He then asked me whether I would introduce him to Abner Korwa. I said that I could but he was not here at the moment. He then spoke at  length about Belantara and their work with the local government and the security forces. As the discussion proceeded, he asked me for the names of the executive members of Belantara and then asked me what my name was and I said my name is Max Binur. He asked me what courses I was taking and I said I was doing a course about UNAMIN and its administration.  I also told him that there were five people on its staff.

He also wanted to know  whether he could take part in discussions with Belantara and I said that he could if he wanted to.

‘And what about involving my friends from the Indonesian Navy,’ he asked, to which I said by all means. But I said that at the moment we were very busy doing our own work in the countryside  which means that at present no one was here in the office except the doorman.

He then asked me whether I could give him the names of the members of the executive committee of Belantara and their photographs. I said, I’m sorry but I wont be able to do that until tomorrow. I said if he wants something official, I could send them to meet some people in the Indonesian Navy.

I ended the conversation at this point, explaining that I had to attend another meeting so I could only do this in a few days time.

He then asked for my telephone number which I gave him and in exchange, he gave me his telephone number.

When I asked him what his full name was, he said Major Yandi, adding that he was a member of the Indonesian Navy in Sorong.



1.    When a member of the Indonesian Navy wants to meet people, he should go to their the front door and if no one is there, he should leave.
2.    What happened was that after knocking at the door, he went next door  to see whether anyone was there but there was no one.
3.    Major Yandi then asked for the names of the members of the executive committee of Belantara so that he could take their photographs. This was during our discussion which lasted for about one hour.
4.     During the discussion, he said he would like to work together with Belantara on a joint business project in Katapop.
5.    During the discussion he mentioned the name of Labora Sitorus but the began to talk about something else.
6.     He said he had moved here from Jakarta two weeks ago and that he had met several NGOs.
7.     One of his other tricks  was to say that he had come from Jakarta on a Pelita Air  flight, but as far as I know, Pelita Airlines does not fly from Jakarta to Sorong.

From all  this, I draw the following conclusions:

1.    In the last five years, no members of the security forces, either from the police or the army, have ever come to our Belantara Office asking for the profiles and names of members of the Belantara executive committee.
2.    I think that the re-opening of the case of  Labora Sitorus and the report in METRO TV in a newscast which was broadcast twice on the REALITA Programme could all be part of the same scenario.
3.     Since 12-13 July, I have been investigating  the case of the company BANGUN KAYA IRIAN which is located in Bagaraga Kampung, Kais, in the District of Wayer, Moswaren, the Region of South Sorong. It was when I arrived home from the location on  the next day 15 July) that a member of the security forces visited me.
4.    On my way home from South Sorong (Teminabuan) to the town of Sorong  on Sunday evening, I took several photos of timber which was piled up on the side of the road from Maladofok Kampung to Klamono. All along the road, there were logs that were about to be transported. I stopped my car on the road, got out  and took six photos of the logs  that were piled up.
5.     I was also suspicious about the Bloody AIMAS  case.
6.     This is perhaps in connection with the appeal we received from the Wawiyai people to assist them in fighting their case in Friwen,
7.     It is also perhaps connected to the exploitation of nickel  in Yenbekaki Kampung, Raja Ampat.

These are some recent cases which I  think are connected with the visit of Major YANDI of the Indonesian Navy although he did not tell us anything. There may be other motives about which we know  nothing.

Max Binur, Director of Belantara Papua

Finally, I want to make it clear that I am providing giving my name and identity card details. If any of these people want to contact me, please do so as I am willing to discuss these matters with them.

But because I need to be careful about giving people details about my identity card number,  I have decided to get a new identity card so as to be able to communicate with people about matters of principle.

Thank you!

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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