Tag Archives: illegal mining

Papuan Governor to Revoke 50 Logging, Mining and Plantation Permits

October 22, 2013

Around 50-60 permits for forest management, mining and even plantations which were issued by Papua’s two caretaker governors over the last two years are going to be revoked. “A caretaker governor does not have the authority to issue permits, their duty is only to prepare local elections to choose the definitive governor,” said Lukas Enembe, the Governor of Papua Province, on Friday 11th October 2013.

The election for the Governor of Papua Province was delayed for two years and during that time 60 forestry, mining and plantation companies received permits to start operations in Papua.

“In the end monopolies have arisen over natural resources, land and forests. The mechanism must be regulated so that no one company or corporate group has a monopoly. A caretaker does not have the right to do this., and so they have contravened the law. I have signed a document meaning that those companies can no longer operate in Papua.”

Last August, Enembe wrote to the Forestry Ministry calling for a halt to 13 of the 25 timber utilization permits from natural forests (IUPHHK-HA) that are currently in force in Papua , covering an area of 2,083,091 hectares.

The Governor will also evaluate 42 gold mining companies in Degeuwo, all of which are illegal. “Really we should already have intervened in this area. Although the Governor ha previously issued an instruction to shut the mines, but the regency governments haven’t carried it out. What’s going on there?” asked the Secretary of the Papuan Provincial Mining and Energy Agency, Fred Boray.

The Degeuwo mining area, which was first opened in 2002, is located across four government districts: Nabire, Paniai, Intan Jaya and Deiyai Regencies. There are currently 42 companies operating, but only six have permits.

Papua province covers an area of around 32,757,948 hectares, of which 31,738,931 hectares (97.89%) is land area. Land classified as production forest or limited production forest is around 10,700,567 hectares, and timber utilization permits have been issued for 4,989,783 hectares.

The governor has requested Regency leaders (bupatis) not to issue permits that will result in forest destruction. The reason is that damage to the forest will not bring any positive contribution to people’s lives. “For example, the oil palm plantations in Keerom Regency that are no longer productive. Because of that, I ask all the bupatis not to give out permits too freely, they should look at the seriousness of the investor,” said Enembe.

(translated by AwasMifee)

[awasMIFEE note: no info as yet which of the plantation permits are likely to be cancelled as a result of this decision. It is not expected that any of the MIFEE plantations will be affected. On the other hand, in Nabire, leader of the Yerisiam Tribe, Simon Petrus Hanebora welcomed the news, hoping that it would mean that PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggul Mandiri would have their permits revoked. The two companies have been accused of illegally clearing the Yerisiam people’s ancestral land.]

Selpius Bobii: “Stop violence in Paniai, proceed with heart to heart communication”

(Apologies for the delay in posting due to significant funding shortfall and time over-commitments from WPM team)

Analysis/ Opinion

27 March, 2013

 by Selpius Bobii, Abepura Prison

The ongoing conflict in Papua is deliberately generated and professionally driven by Indonesian government through its defence system, purposely to defend the sovereignty of Indonesia over Papua.  Beside political conflicts, economic factors play a certain role in initiating conflicts in Papua. As a result, both Papuan and non-Papuan civilians suffer the consequences, but mostly indigenous Papuans suffer the worst outcome of these conflicts.

One of the regions in Papua that draws major attention of the Indonesian military is Paniai.  The conflicts there that are deliberately initiated by the Defence force of the Republic of Indonesia in confronting the OPM troops led by John Yogi has left the people of Paniai in great devastation.

These ongoing conflicts have left the civilians in a frightening and intimidating situation because Indonesian Police and Indonesian National Army have been doing mass military mobilisation and convoys, committing sexual harassment and assaults on woman and girls, carrying out unlawful arrests, torturing innocent civilians, and raids from house to house, confiscating hunting tools like bows and arrows, axes, and knives.  The local people had to move to the neighboring villages searching for refuge, food and health. Some of them got sick and died, some were shot dead by the Indonesian military.

Violence, intimidation and unlawful detentions by Police  Army are escalating in Paniai in the last few weeks, especially to combat the (local) OPM movement led by John Yogi.

Marko Okto Pekei, SS (Activist from Timika Catholic Parish) reported that the tense situation in Paniai has been going for a long period of time following the forceful disbanding (by Indonesian security forces) of the OPM HQ in Eduda in October 2012. After the incident, Indonesian Security Forces deployed massive number of Indonesian Military personnel in Paniai.

On the afternoon of February 24th 2013 the people of Paniai witnessed the deployment of Indonesia Military into Paniai, 53 trucks dropped them.  During the deployment, a source that did not wish to be named mentioned that an Indonesia police officer (told him)  that, in February 2013 alone, the government ( especially the Defence Ministry) of Indonesia has deployed more than one thousand military personnel from Kelapa Dua Jakarta to Paniai.  As a result, people in Paniai, especially fathers and young men, feel intimidated everywhere they go.  They could not go out for gardening because of the fear that they would be suspected as members of OPM.

During that tensed situation, Marko Pekei also reported that there has been raids carried out in the middle of the night in the villages, unlawful arrest, torture, and forceful kidnapping, abduction and killing of innocent civilians in Paniai.

The latest cases for example are, Stefanus Yeimo who was shot dead by Indonesian Police (Brigade Mobile) at 15:30 (west Papuan time) in Kopo Paniai. He was shot when he and his friend were at a local store buying cigarette. According to the Indonesian Police (POLRI) the reason behind the shooting is, he was suspected to be member of OPM.

At 18:00 on the same day, Stefanus was buried by his family in Kopo village, Paniai.

Meanwhile, according to report from an Activist from Justice and Peace Division of Timika Catholic Parish, there is another victim from the Moni Clan; Indonesian National Army Special Team 753 in Uwibutu tortured him on Saturday March 23rd 2013 at 21:30 local time.

After the victim was arrested he was beaten, kicked and was dragged along the asphalt road. At that time few by passers witnessed that violent and unjust treatment. The victim was even dragged into the police checkroom and brutally tortured until the next day and he was rushed to the hospital for medication.

According to the relative of the victim who did not wish to be named, the victim was intoxicated but was not violent when he went to visit a family friend at the hospital. He left the hospital at 21:30 local time. That was when the Indonesian Army Special team 753 from Paniai unlawfully arrested him took him to their base and beat him up, tortured him and they took him the hospital.

In response to the escalating and ongoing violence in Paniai, We the Front PEPERA (Act Of Free Choice) would like to take this opportunity to demand:

1). Indonesian Army (TNI) and Indonesian Police (POLRI) to stop excessive terror, torture, kidnapping and unlawful arrests and shootings in Paniai.

2). Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander XVII and Provincial Police Commander to stop deploying military personnel in Paniai and as soon as possible withdraw the additional personnel that was deployed from Jakarta.

3). The military personnel who violates human rights in Paniai be brought to justice.

4) Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander XVII and Provincial Police Commander as soon as possible sack the Indonesian Army (TNI) and Indonesian Police (POLRI) personnel who are responsible for the ongoing violence in Paniai.

5). People, Government and Church to work together hand in hand, establishing communications from heart to heart in order to curtail the violence and human right abuses that has been going on in Paniai for a very long time.

6). Journalists to truthfully and honestly expose the real situation that has been happening in Paniai

7) Violence will never solve the conflicts in Papua, therefore We the PEPERA (Act Of Free Choice) Front would like to take this opportunity to demand the United Nation or a neutral third-party to immediately act unconditionally and according to the international law to end the political and social injustice in Papua.

This statement serves as guide and to be carried out by the concerning parties who thinks Papuans deserves justice, peace and security in Papua and especially in Paniai.

Selpius Bobii, Abepura Prison: Wednesday, 27th March 2013.

Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of Front Pepera (The United Front of the Struggle of the People of Papua)  and is currently one of the “Jayapura Five”, Political Prisoners held in Abepura Prison, Jayapura, West Papua.  The five (Bobii, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Dominikus Sorabut and Agus Kraar) were found guilty in an opaque and predetermined trial of  Treason (Makar) charges, laid after the violent Indonesian security force crackdown on the Third Papuan People’s Congress  in October 2011.

 

Police in Papua claim to set up team to investigate terror incidents around Freeport

TITO KARNAVIAN
TITO KARNAVIAN (Photo credit: RubyGoes)

 

Bintang Papua,

 

 

9 November, 2012

 

Timika: The chief of police in Papua has announced that he will be setting up a special team to investigate recent acts of terror in the vicinity of the Freeport copper-and-gold mine which is located in the district of Mimika,

Inspector-General Tito Karnavian said that the special team will be charged with mapping the incidents and investigating each one so ensure that they are properly solved.

‘The team will be instructed to handle each case seriously. What happens at present that when an incident occurs, everyone talks about it  but then is disappears.’

The chief of police spent two days in the area with a number of officers and inspected the open pit mining (Grasberg) as well as the underground mines.

He stressed the need for the incidents to be handled seriously.  There have been a number of shootings in the Freeport area since 2009, but in most cases, the perpetrators have not been found.

During the past three years, he said, there have been ‘hundreds’ of shooting incidents leading to the death of twenty people which has included members of the police force, members of the company’s internal security force as well as local people who are involved in traditional mining.

As regards the general situation in Papua, the chief of police said that everything is quiet and under control.  He went on to say that there have been a number of terror incidents in Wamena which have been solved as well as  cases of the discovery of explosive material in Timika.  Six people who are thought to be involved in explosive material are currently in the custody of the police and are being interrogated. He said that the cases are being handled in accordance with legal procedures. ‘Anyone who is deemed to be guilty will be processed according to the law.’

[Translated by TAPOL]

 

(WPM Note: Bintang Papua has only reported what Karnavian has alleged.  However, the facts of the Wamena terror arrests, and also the facts surrounding the ongoing OTK shootings near Freeport have all pointed to the clear involvement of the security forces.  If this new Karnavian announcment is the pretext for another wave of crackdowns on local Papuan people instead of the perpetrators in the security forces who are making massive profit of protection rackets and illegal gold mining in Freeport, and in order to justify their security budget, then Karnavian must be aware that most of Papuan civil society knows this is just window dressing.  Karnavian knows full well the perpetrators of security incidents, he is just too afraid to go and arrest his big brothers in Kopassus.  This strategy is disingenuous, as arresting the wrong people will ensure that the OTK attacks continue, even after the alleged culprits have been extrajudicially executed by the Karnavian death squads of Detachment 88, funded, armed and trained by Australia, UK and the US.)

 

 

Violence continues to intensify across Paniai, towns emptied as TNI/Polri conduct reprisals after TPN attacks.

October 21, 2012

By Nick Chesterfield at West Papua Media

Special Investigation

As a major crackdown by Indonesian security forces deepens against West Papuan civil resistance activists ahead of mass mobilisations across Papua, West Papua Media is examining Papuan nationalist motivations for resistance, revisiting a region that has been continuously wracked by security force violence connected to illegal gold mining and resource extraction.

The Paniai regency, which straddles the “neck” of the Papuan “bird of Paradise” landform, is the site of a new gold rush that has resulted in brutality against ordinary indigenous tribal and townspeople.

Intensifying acts of violence by Indonesian security forces has reportedly emptied towns in the Paniai district of West Papua, with civilians allegedly fleeing in their thousands to the jungle outside the Enarotoli region, according to human rights sources in Paniai.

Regular reports have been received over recent weeks from church human rights sources detailing a campaign of arbitrary brutality committed by soldiers from the notorious Nabire-based 753 Battalion of the Indonesian army (TNI) , together with Brimob paramilitary police, against indigenous people primarily from the Mee tribe.  Random attacks on ordinary villagers, drunken altercations at gambling venues, and sporadic attempts by indigenous Mee people to claim any share of the vast sums of wealth flowing out of their lands, have all contributed to a sense of brutalization endured by the Mee people in recent months.

Engagements between forces of the Paniai command of the West Papuan National Liberation Army (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional) and both Brimob and 753 Btn troops have been used as justification for violence against civilians, and several incidents connected to TNI business activities across the regency have increased tensions.

Daily confirmed reporting from church human rights sources in the Paniai have detailed a litany of abuses by security forces, including, torture, unprovoked killings, shootings, and beatings over economic turf wars.

Torture over taxi turf

On October 1, a misunderstanding quickly escalated to a torture incident in Waghete, in the Deiyei district of Paniai, illustrating perfectly the mundane economic triggers of abuse carried out by security force members.  A local district official Marion Dogopia, Head of Bouwobado District, Deiyai, was been driven in an official car (with yellow government plates) from Enarotoli to Waghete.  In the car were Dogopia’s driver, and his Papuan Police officer bodyguard, Ones Pigome.  The car turned into the Waghete bus terminal to pick up further family members, where a TNI Btn 753 soldier, moonlighting as a taxi driver, started an argument with the driver, according to a church human rights investigation seen by West Papua Media.

Across Indonesia, the TNI control the taxi and ojek (motorbike taxi) industry, which is used as both a good source of intelligence and a lucrative, effortless cash source for bored soldiers – who protect their turf ruthlessly.  According to witnesses quoted in the human rights investigation, the soldier taxi driver  – who was first in line at the taxi rank – angrily accused the official’s driver of being a taxi and picking up passengers  at the bus station, a place where taxis are not allowed to operate.  Despite the driver and Dogopia trying to calmly explain that the vehicle was a private vehicle and was not taking fares, the soldier refused to listen.

At this point, the municipal police officer Pigome, started to get angry at the soldier, and shouted and slapped the soldier, demanding he stand down.  The soldier resisted and called out his colleagues from Battalion 753, who were loitering at an army post 50 metres away.    According to witnesses, several dozen soldiers rushed over complete with their equipment and weapons, and pulled Ones Pigome out from his car. They severely beat the victim, kicked him, tore his clothes, and stomped him with their boots after he fell helplessly. As a result, Pigome sustained deep lacerations , contusions and swelling upon his head , face and body.

In a chilling reminder of the dangers faces to both journalists and witnesses to Indonesian state violence – and a sign of the fear that state abuse perpetrators in Papua have of being held to account by growing citizen media power – witnesses reported that several soldiers were standing guard while their colleagues were beating up Pigome, keeping watch after the voices of several 753 members could be heard saying “see who is taking photos or videos”.  Witnesses reported that soldiers took their rifles up to low ready positions and intimidated citizens, so that nobody was allowed to take photos.   The beating was reported to have lasted over an hour.

Despite the very public nature of the beating and ill-discipline in torturing another member of the security forces, no sanction against the offending 753 soldiers was reported.  This further example of impunity has contributed to the tension and feeling that the TNI is out to cause indiscriminate violence to Papuans, as collective punishment for the temerity of any challenge to Jakarta’s colonial plunder.

Military contacts increase

Indonesian army officers from 753 have also recently been implicated in several other incidents.

On Thursday October 11, a joint Indonesian army and Brimob patrol sent to secure logistics from the TPN for local elections, was moving in a speedboat up the Kebo River from Enarotoli.  According to reports, the army was using a civilian speedboat on Waneuwo Creek, Agadide District, and a TPN patrol saw this and opened fire on the boat, allegedly with a rocket propelled grenade according to MetroTV, though no evidence was provided for this claim.  In the firefight, the boat carrying food and logistical supplies for the TNI was sunk, and two TNI soldiers sustained gunshot wounds in their hands and feet.

The military conducted reprisals immediately by opening fire indiscriminately on civilian fishing boats tied up at the Aikai fishing hamlet in Enarotoli.  Civilians were then rounded up at gunpoint in the suburb of Bobaigo in Enarotoli, arrested without charge or justification – all are still being held at different police posts for interrogation.  West Papua Media has been unable to ascertain the identities of those arrested.

Prior to the latest wave of violence, throughout August a series on attacks on military posts, local officials, ordinary people and transmigrant workers were widely blamed on the ubiquitous “unknown persons” (OTK) killed 5 people, and critically injured another 6.  These OTK attacks, now wryly interpreted by Papuans to mean “Specially Trained Persons” (Orang Terlatih Khusus), were used as justification by security forces to conduct widespread reprisals against Papuan civilians.  As is the usual case, police have been in no hurry to identify the perpetrators with evidence, or do anything other than cooperate in extra-judicial operations, according to independent sources in Enarotoli.

In August, the reprisal by security forces forced a closure of the town of Enarotali, with schools, public transport and food supplies paralysed.  All health services in the District General Hospitals across Paniai were not running, as nurses, medical staff and patients were forcibly discharged by the security forces.  Civilians were unable to engage in farming, causing crops and food supplies to suffer, and were unable to gather firewood in the forest or fishing in the lake.  According to testimonies, the atmosphere was constantly coloured by the sounds of gunfire.  This situation was experienced by people in the city Enarotali, Madi (Paniai regency capital) and surrounding areas in Paniai.

After a period of relative calm in September, this situation is again being repeated through the behaviour of 753 Battalion and the members of Brimob, who are intricately entangled in the illegal gold mining trade.  West Papua Media reported in December 2011 on the ruthless Operation Matoa which was launched across the region to destroy the TPN forces of Jhon Yogi – resulting in the displacement of over 14,000 people, almost 150 villages burnt down and the failure of basic services for almost a year.

Violence over illegal gold control

Brimob paramilitary police, who were stationed in the Degeuwo and Derero River alluvial gold diggings, were providing a lucrative protection racket for the Australian-owned West Wits Mining and other foreign small scale mining companies, which was detailed in an original investigation by West Papua Media.  During Operation Matoa, helicopters leased by West Wits were allegedly provided to Indonesian security forces, who used them to strafe and napalm villages in the TPN stronghold of Eduda.  Then, as now, creating conflict to be suppressed is a powerful economic motivator for Brimob and 753 troops, who would otherwise be without “legitimate” reason to be around the gold diggings, and all the opportunities for profit that entails.  Brimob troops are contracted in lucrative business interests across the alluvial gold mining sector as they provide security for diggings, and also provide site security for several joint operations

The TPN forces of Jhon Yogi have long been suspected by observers as entangled in a mutually beneficial relationship of violence with both Brimob police and 753 Btn, as they both vie for control of artisanal alluvial gold mining operations across the rich rivers and streams that lead into Lake Paniai.

One observer of the Paniai struggle spoken to by West Papua Media today questioned if the perpetrators of ongoing repression were “simply bored 19 year olds with guns, Mafioso soldiers protecting their turf, or entangled business relationships between all actors in a classic horizontal resource based conflict.

On October 12, another armed contact occurred between Yogi’s TPN troops and another joint Brimob/753 patrol on a road near Tanjung Toyaimoti, Agadide District, according to TPN sources.   Citizen media sources reported that Jhon Yogi’s TPN unit was ambushed by the Brimob while Yogi’s men were on their way from Pasir Putih District to Komopa.  The sources claim that TPN were startled by gunshots near the village and returned fire in a shootout for several minutes.   Two TPN members were shot, one (Dabeebii Gobai, 26 years old) critically, and died the next day.

It is unclear how or why the vastly outgunned TPN unit was able, or allowed, to escape by Brimob officers, despite having several mobile units on call.  The failure to capture Yogi has raised significant questions as to desire of Brimob to capture him.

A senior church source in Paniai questioned the conditions behind the conflict and the commitment for actors in the conflict to actually seek peace.  According to the source, this situation has created a psychological trauma where “Paniai people are still living in the same uncertain circumstances (as when) the area was considered to be a ​​military operations area (DOM) until 2002. … We predict that such incidents are likely to continue to occur because both parties have still not demonstrated an attitude to restrict their areas of movement nor invite each other to prioritise persuasive (unarmed dialogue-based) approaches. It is often difficult to accept such offers.”

He continued, “All parties in Paniai remain indifferent to these problems occurring, even though the victims are often civilians. Maybe it’s because violence is considered normal in Paniai?”

Westpapuamedia

The Coverage of Gunfire in Nabire is Public Deception

Tabloid Jubi

September 25, 2012

by Victor Mambor

Jayapura, (25/9) The coverage about gunfire between police and armed civilian groups in Urumusu, Nabire Regency on Monday (24/9) that was reported by national and local media, has been described as ‘public deception’ by human rights activists in Nabire. A resident called Kristian Belau/Zonggona, named by police, was shot in the gunfire.

This allegation of public deception was asserted by the Nabire Kingmi Klasis Church Bureau of Justice and Peace in a chronological report of events received by tabloidjubi.com , on Tuesday (25/9). The Bureau of Justice and Peace of the Nabire Kingmi Klasis Church, which undertook an investigation into this incident says that this was actually a case of police shooting the victim, Kristian Belau/Zonggonau, because of road-blocking elated activity on the Interior Trans-Nabire road, not because of gunfire between police and armed civilian groups.

From the chronolgy collected by the Bureau of Justice and Peace, on Tuesday 25 September 2012, at approximately 6:00am CDT, a group of Moni Youth were road-blocking on the roadside of the Interior Trans-Nabire Road next to the Wadio Atas Elementary School, Gerbang Sadu Villiage, in the West Nabire District of Nabire Regency. Unfortunately, when these young people stopped an Inova type car that was heading inbound and requested money from the passengers, it turned out there was a police officer in the car. The police officer then fired into the air three times, which made all the Moni youth run to safe themselves. But three other Moni youth used a motor bike to travel to the rubbish dump in Wadio Atas and continued their road-blocking actions. The police officer that fired the shots directly reported to Nabire Police District Command (Polres) that there were people carrying out road-blocking in Wadio Atas.

Kristian Belau lying down awaiting the operation to remove the bullet

After morning assembly, police from Nabire District Command took one track heading towards Wadio Atas and checked a spot that is often blocked. Upon arriving at the rubbish dump in Wadio Atas, Gerbang Sadu Villiage, Nabire West District, police met with the three Moni Youth. When the police attempted to arrest the three, two escaped. However, one of them, Kristian Belau/Zonggonau, instead advanced towards police. At the time, Kristian Belau/Zonggonau is suspected of being drunk because all night he was drinking heavily. When he advanced towards the police officers, he was shot in the right thigh. Kristian was then lifted to the police patrol car to be taken to the Siriwini Hospital Emergency Room, Nabire. Currently, the victim is in custody at Nabire Police District Command for questioning. According to several citizens in around Gerbang Sadu villiage, road-blocking on the Interior Trans-Nabire Road happens every night. It has been occurring for quite a while. Although police have repeatedly arrested road-blockers, there still are those who road-block. Usually every vehicle that travels inbound is billed according to the type of vehicle. Taxis are billed RP 50,000, private vehicles are billed RP 50,000 and trucks are billed RP 100,000. This issue makes the police angry, to the point that they carried out the shooting of Kristian Belau/Zonggonau.

In the reporting that followed, police said they could not avoid exchanging fire with armed civilian groups in the mentioned location. ‘Because a member was shot, in the end returning fire could not be avoided, one person of the armed group was named Kristian Belau/Zonggonau was shot in his left thigh. Other members of the armed group successfully escaped into the forest whist continually firing at police with revolvers and SS1 type guns’, explained Lieutenant Colonel Gede Sumerta to tabloidjubi.com (25/9),

Based on the investigation carried out, given to tabliodjubi.com the Nabire Kingmi Klasis Church Bureau of Justice and Peace disputes the police explanation. According to them, statements of gunfire between police and armed civilian groups that use revolver and SSQ type weapons is information that has been distributed by irresponsible parties and constitutes public deception. ‘Gunfire between police and armed civilian groups that use revolver and SSQ type weapons is an announcement that is irresponsible and public deception’, said Yones Douw, an activist from Nabire Kingmi Klasis Church Bureau of Justice and Peace to tabloidjubi.com (25/9).

‘Because the Urumusu location is far from the Interior Trans-Nabire road, entering Topo District, Nabire West Regency, a distance from the incident of approximately 45 kilometres. This morning, our human rights activists met with Kristian’s elder sibling and the Moni community in Wadio Atas. They said their children (the three youths who were road-blocking) do not own weapons. If they get drunk and road-block, it’s possible’, continued Yones Douw. (Jubli/Victor Mambor).

a policeman with his weapon guards Kristian Belau

Kristian Belau awaiting operation

right thigh hit by bullet