Tag Archives: Indonesian State Violence

HRD Analysis on Oksibil-West Papua Armed Conflict

by Solidarity for Indigenous Papuans

Conflict Background in Oksibil

The armed conflict in Oksibil area is the continuation of the struggle for West Papua freedom started in the 1960s and maintained by West Papua people under Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) Free Papua Movement up to date. Oksibil conflict cannot be minimized down to view the conflict from a single spot; it has to be looked at from the whole West Papua conflict being maintained in several regencies within West Papua. The OPM has its military wing, the West Papua National Liberation (WPNLA/TPNPB-OPM) which has 33 command posts throughout the region aspire to maintain the armed struggle in every part of West Papua. The Ngalum-Kupel Comand is the 15th Command post under the leadership of General Alipki Lamek Taplo based in Oksibil.

The Star Mountain people were the latest contacted people by the Netherlands Government in 1959. The short contact did not last long because Indonesia had to take over the territory by 1963. In 1969 act of free choice, the representatives from Oksibil protested strongly in Wamena resulted in their leader Katkotweng Uropkulin excluded from participation in the vote. He was locked up in a confined room until the whole process was completed. He was released later and returned to Oksibil where he helped organized the resistance movement in the community.

In the 1970s his son Karel Uropkulin took over the leadership and led most of the people into the jungles between Papua New Guinea and West Papua maintaining the freedom struggle. Some went to live in refugee camps in Papua New Guinea while others maintained their positions in the jungles and fight Indonesian military with bows and arrows. The people of Oksibil still maintained their position to date because Indonesia does not want to resolve the conflict peacefully. Stories from other places are similar to what is happening in Oksibil, Indonesia does not have a formula to address the conflict in West Papua in general. The armed conflict is likely to continue as long as Indonesia is in West Papua.

Existing Politically charged groups in Oksibil

The existing pro-independence groups in Oksibil reflect the general situation in Papua. Groups include West Papua National Committee (KNPB), West Papua Interest Association Group (WPIA), and Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) group. United Liberation Movement for West Papua group is establishing their residency in the regency in 2020, not many members in this group. Most of these groups are advocating for independence through peaceful means except for OPM. The OPM has many sympathisers and emphasis is often placed on armed struggle.

On the other hand, the Indonesians set-up proxy groups and spy networks in Oksibil which include the Barisan Merah Putih (Red and White Group), Soranda group, KNPI (Indonesian youth wing) and the descendants of voters in the act of free choice. They set up spy network from Oksibil into outer districts. Most of them posted as teachers and health workers. The established narratives in the local community led to the current destruction of health and education facilities in the Kiwirok district.

This photo is posted on Facebook by Piltap Bawi a member of the Soranda Group. The group in the photo is seen standing with bows around their flag (Sangsaka Bengerim) and Indonesian Red and White flag. The group appears to be a cult group without national ideology existing only in Oksibil. Indonesian Intelligence (KOPASUS) often deal with them to give them false hopes about independence in return the Soranda group provide insights on OPM and other groups in the Oksibil area. The group is similar to the cult around Benny Wenda and his ULMWP group who declare himself president enjoying his leadership in dreams while the conflict is still going on in West Papua. Soranda group is also like ULMWP cult but they have their own flag, not Morning Star.

Capture of two WPNLA members in District Batom Star Mountain Regency

On the 6th of September 2021, two members of TPNPB-OPM were captured in Batom District assisted by the members of Soranda Group and local government officials. The two members have five firearms including live bullets bought in Papua New Guinea. They were crossing the border along the head waters of the Sepik River near Green River district of Papua New Guinea when the local people (members of Soranda group) spotted them and reported to the Indonesian military base in district Batom.

It was the first time that the OPM bought firearms from Papua New Guinea and the OPM leaders expected the local people to keep quiet but the local people sided with the Indonesians. The OPM leaders have vowed to kill whoever is on the side of Indonesian military including the civilians both local and migrants. The capture of the two members of OPM-TPNPB was due to the local people’s involvement in the spy network of Indonesia. That is the reason behind the destruction of public facilities in Kiwirok and also set fire to the heavy equipment in district Oksop. To make the people feel the effect of what it takes to lose something you fought hard to acquire. It is sort of revenge by the OPM which the conflict is likely to continue because all the politically charged groups are somehow interconnected within the conflict.

Above: Julian Uopmabin (right), Kapol Uopmabin (left) were the two members of TPNPB-OPM captured with firearms in Batom District Star Mountain Regency on 6th Sept. 2021. They are in Jayapura prison awaiting their trial and sentencing.
Above: Firearms captured from the two members of the OPM-TPNPB. For the last 50 years conflict in West Papua, the OPM have no outside support for arms and other logistics. It has somehow managed to survive for the last 50 years.

Special Autonomy and Development: OPM’s point of view

Anything that smells like the expired Special Autonomy Policy reminds West Papuans of the past 20 years of misery. They do not want to entertain any of it after the expiration date. Indonesian government extended the special autonomy without consulting the Papuans on 15th July 2021 in the Indonesian Parliament. West Papuans have rejected it and have been expecting changes but no changes are coming their way.

The OPM under the leadership of Lamek Taplo has published an ultimatum recently that they will burn the development facilities of the Indonesian government under the Special Autonomy policy. They also warned immigrants to move out of conflict zones, any of them found in the conflict zone is considered as spies. Following the announcement, the OPM first burned the machines in district Oksop and later into Kiwirok district. Most of the stories with regard to destruction of properties and public facilities are found in the Indonesian media.

Above: The burning machines along trans-Papua highway in district Oksop, 9th Sept. 2021. The equipment was destroyed by the OPM-TPNPB members.

Above: 13th Sept. 2021, photo above is at district Kiwirok and Okhika. In Okhika the Indonesian military targeted the residence of Papuans because they suspected that most members of the OPM are from district Okhika. The OPM burned the public facilities in Kiwirok district. The Indonesian media projected the blame only on OPM but that is not true, TNI and Police also burnt down residential homes for Papuans in several villages in Okhika district.

West Papua National Liberation Army’s position on the armed conflict

The WPNLA’s position has been that war against the Indonesian government will be there until Indonesia withdraws entirely from West Papua. In a recently released statement, they stated that; “the fight has historical significance based on United Nations Resolution 1514 of 14th December 1960 on the granting of independence to colonial peoples and territories and its subsequent resolutions. West Papua still remains to be the unfinished business of United Nations Decolonisation program of the 1960s of which the fight to reclaim that freedom is justified under the International Law.

The OPM is open to negotiate with Indonesia to resolve the conflict peacefully, but it has to be mediated by an international neutral third party. The Indonesian concept of national dialogue and peace negotiation simply cannot work; West Papuans have grown thick skins to Indonesians mistreatments with regard to the subject of peace negotiations.

Indonesian Government’s Official Position on the armed Conflict

The Indonesian government maintained their position throughout the conflict that there is no war or armed conflict in West Papua, the government has been engaging in a law enforcement program (peneggagkan hukum) to apprehend the armed criminal groups that killed the health workers and destroyed road construction equipment and other facilities to be brought to justice. The government termed the operation as “Operasi kemanusiaan”/Humanitarian Operation to serve those people who are terrorised by the armed criminal groups. This position has been maintained since 2018.

They claimed that Police are doing their job and military is assisting the police to keep the law and order in Papua region. They simply brush aside any talk of peace with the so called armed criminal groups in Papua. They aspire to crush the armed criminal groups militarily and achieve peace in Papua. The Indonesian government has recently categorized OPM as a terrorist organization aspires to force neighbouring countries and the UN to follow suit.

For the traumatised civilians in Papua, Indonesian government devised what they called “wining heart and mind strategy” to calm the Papuan public, discourage them to join the OPM or even assist them to fight against Indonesia. Military in schools, churches including the so called ‘trans-Papua road project and the extension of the Special Autonomy package is part of the strategy. The government interpret the conflict in Papua from the development aspect which is far away from addressing the conflict.

Active conflicts elsewhere in West Papua

The armed conflict is still active in Yahukimo, Puncak, Nduga, Intan Jaya and current eruption in Maybrat regency in the bird’s head region of the island (see attached brief report). We also have other existing environmental destruction in Timika and Merauke regencies (see report attached).

The Special Autonomy issue is still active and Papuans are expected to do demonstration against the policy throughout major towns in Papua .

Indonesian Government’s methods of resolving the conflict

Indonesian government has always been reluctant to resolve the conflict; its actions are conducted in such a way that conflict in Papua has to be maintained and resources are exploited cheaply. Indonesia has been applying Band-Aid strategy narrowing conflict down to specific conflict spots and send in military to apply scotch-earth strategy to wipe out the population in the identified area. The strategy is keeping the conflict going throughout Papua because; it has displaced thousands of people and destroyed homes and properties worth millions.

Appeal to the international community

West Papuans are really dying; they need assistance from the international community. The conflict will last for ages here in West Papua as long as Indonesia is in West Papua. We are appealing to the international community to put pressure on the governments and international organizations to urge Indonesia to resolve the conflict through peaceful means. The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders (PIF) and Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) leaders have been addressing the issue. We hope that the international community put their respective governments on notice to respond to West Papua conflict based on the principle of Responsibility to Protect.

HRD Report: Information on Internally Displaced People in West Papua – Oksibil

by Solidarity for Indigenous Papuans

Information on Internally Displaced People in West Papua – Oksibil

Above: West Papua map showing the active conflict zones in West Papua including the IDPs location. (Source: google map, additional graphics by Solidarity for Indigenous Papuans)

General information on internally displaced people in conflict zones in West Papua
  • Since 1st December 2018 West Papua people in Nduga have been displaced from their homes for four years now. There were 12 districts in Nduga regency completely destroyed, more than 45 000 people have been displaced living in the neighbouring regencies up to date.
  • Like the situation in Nduga, Puncak people have also been displaced for four years now living with relatives in other regencies, most of the IDPs from Puncak is not known because the media is blocked from going in to the area.
  • People of West Papua in Yahukimo regency have also been displaced for the last four years most of them living in the jungles away from public facilities. The information about IDPs in Yahukimo is also not known.
  • The people of West Papua in Intan Jaya have been taking refuge in the neighbouring Paniai and Nabire regencies for the last three years. Their information is also not often published regularly. Most of the IDPs from Intan Jaya, Puncak and Nduga are living in Mimika regency including the people from the mining village of Banti displaced in 2020.
  • Recent armed conflict in Maybrat has also caused displacement in the Bird’s head region; people are still living in the jungles since last month’s incident in Maybrat regency.
  • The Star Mountain regency has been in conflict since 2018, displacement was under control until the 13th September incident in Kiwirok and Okhika districts.
  • Estimated total of Internally Displaced People is around 90 000 to 100 000 people and is expected to increase when the conflict intensifies throughout West Papua.
Situation of Internally Displaced people in Kiwirok and Okhika districts Star Mountain Regency

There are 12 villages in district Kiwirok including the district headquarters. People from the villages have been displaced since the 13th of September 2021. Some ran to the jungles while others moved to the Kiwirok Church compound. People who are sheltered by the church are mostly women, children, elderly, and the sick.

The burning and destruction in Okhika district was done by Indonesian military and not the OPM. Most of the destroyed buildings were residential houses and not public facilities. The whereabouts of the people from Okhika are not known to date. Most of them ran into the jungles to cover from Indonesian attacks. It is expected that people from these districts will migrate to Telefomin and Green River districts of Sandaun province in Papua New Guinea. The total population of district Okhika and Kiwirok combined is estimated to be around six thousand people.

The people who have been displaced since 13th of September 2021 who are under the church protection need food and other supplies. Neighbouring districts are contributing food and firewood to the displaced people. The supplies could not last long and need urgent food supplies to keep the people fed. Schools and other public amenities have been closed and children are deprived of their right to education.

Above: Women and children from Kiwirok district displaced by the armed conflict

Above: The elderly, women and children including men in Kiwirok district displaced by the armed conflict.

Above: Food and firewood contributed from local people for the IDPs.

Government and NGO Response

The Indonesian government has not been responsive since 2018 IDP crisis in Nduga. Only the local government is responsive to supply food and basic supplies from time to time. The government has not formed special teams to investigate what is happening within the IDP communities and or addressing their situation.

We have witnessed churches and CSOs build solid support base for the IDPs in West Papua throughout the conflict zones. These brave deeds were not without blockage by Indonesian military and police though. Many church workers were killed due to their care for the IDPs, CSOs blocked from reaching the IDPs or food aid stolen by the military from the airports. Indonesian military and police often check every item on the plane to the conflict zones. Anything that is heading towards the IPD camps is confiscated at the airports including food and other basic supplies.

Appeal

Indonesian military and police have been confiscating food for IDPs from the airports which is a violation of the existing humanitarian law. The military and police have been consistently checking backs and confiscating food since 2018. We are appealing to the international community to urge Indonesia to allow food and medical assistance to reach the IDPs throughout West Papua conflict zones.

Prepared by Solidarity for Indigenous Papuans

JUBI: Governor and Council Speaker Accused of Orchestrating pro-Jakarta militia Protests

reprinted in full from our partners Tabloid Jubi

The recent arrests of nearly 1,500 protesters in Jayapura are part of a broader systematic oppression of Papuans by the Indonesian government - Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and the Chairman of the Papua Legislative Council Yunus Wonda have been accused of orchestrating recent demonstrations.

The accusations were made by the alleged attackers of Mrs. Henderika Kowenip, who was hurt during a recent protest.

First Deputy of Regional Leadership Council of Democrat Party Papua (DPD PD Papua), Corolus Bolly, said he strongly condemned the attack against Kowenip, Coordinator Deputy of DPD PD Papua, on Thursday (2/6/2016) at around 09:00 Papua time near to Trikora Square, Abepura.  Kowenip suffered bruises and wounds on her back and face.

“The Public Hospital Dok II Jayapura, who conducted medical examination will further explain about Mrs. Kowenip’s health condition,” Corolus Bolly through a release on last week to Jubi in Jayapura.

Bolly said he asked both Papua Police and Jayapura Municipal Police to immediately investigate and arrest the perpetrators. “We really want the perpetrators would be punished on their crime in accordance to the Law,” he said.

Regarding to accusations levelled by Kowenip’s attackers against Enembe and Wonda, Bolly asserted as leaders, both persons must present among their people without disrespecting their ethnicity, religion, race or particular groups.

“As regional leaders, it is their obligation to pay attention, facilitate and serve all interest and dynamic of people living in the entire regions of Papua Province by continuing to keep stability and peace in people’s life.

Second Deputy Chairman of DPD PD Papua, Habel Rumbiak, similarly said about dynamic of politic that was occurred recently. He said both Lukas Enembe and Yunus Wonda always appealed to people to respect the Indonesian law and not being anarchy in doing demonstrations.

“People should respect any differences on political view. It shouldn’t become an instrument to divide and create conflict between one and another groups that at the end would lead to separation,” he said,

He added together we should maintain the unitary and integrity as well as lead to separation,” he said.

He added together we should maintain the unitary and integrity as well as stability, security and peace to create a conducive situation in working. “All of these are to materialize the movement towards Stand up, Independent and Prosperous Papua,” he said. (Alexander Loen/rom)

Densus 88 & Indon Police shoot dead unarmed Nabire High school student

by WestPapuaMedia, and local sources

June 28, 2016

WARNING: THIS REPORT CONTAINS DISTRESSING IMAGES

Australian-supported Indonesian Police special forces shot dead a teenage Papuan high school student in central Nabire city, West Papua, on Monday (27th June) afternoon, in an apparently premeditated ambush without provocation, according to credible reports and witnesses from the scene.  The student was unarmed.

Local independent media in Nabire, UmagiNews, are reporting that the extrajudicial killing occurred as the high school students were passing by the heavily armed police patrol near a roundabout in central Nabire.  WestPapuaMedia stringers have confirmed these reports.

Oen (Owen) Pekei, 18, a student from class 2, YPPGI (Senior High School) Karang Mulia Nabire West Papua, was shot dead at 5pm local time, Monday, after being chased by at least three vehicles full of heavily armed, militarised police, according to witnesses.

One witness, whose name has been withheld for protection, told UmagiNews that Pekei was seen riding on a motorbike carrying a noken bag with the outlawed Morning Star pro-independence symbol.  Police gave chase with three motorbikes, three unmarked police vehicles, and a truck full of fully armed and armoured Densus88 anti-terror police in balaclavas joined the chase.  Pekei was herded into an ambush area, where more Densus88 armed members of the police were awaiting him at three points, according to the witness.

Pekei was then shot in front of the new city complex at the Nabire regent’s office, allegedly from several directions simultaneously.  UmagiNews have published aseries of diagrams given by witnesses showing from where different armed units shot Pekei. One shot from Telkom head office, the second from within the memorial monuments, and the third from the D88 cars of Dalmas Porles Nabire.

Unconfirmed reports seen by WestPapuaMedia stringers allege that amongst the shooters both waiting and chasing Pekei, were a heavily armed patrol of black clad special forces police belonging to the Australian-trained and funded counter-terror unit Special Detachment (Densus) 88. Densus88 has been used extensively for several years to conduct extremely violent repression against Papuan civilians engaged in peaceful acts of free expression, and his currently deployed heavily across Papua, whilst still receiving funding and training from the Australian Federal Police.

The motive for shooting is not clear, however police have denied – in the military run colonial media outlet Nabire_Net  – that they shot Pekei, claiming instead that he died in hospital after hitting his head during the crash.  (WPM: The photos of Pekei – provided for publication by his family with permission – show the entry wound caused by a bullet, which is inconsistent with road impact at low-speed*).  However, human rights observers told UmagiNews that questions arose that if Pekei was considered a road accident victim that was unconscious, why he was dumped in the mortuary instead of receiving an attempt in the emergency room of hospital.

Other circumstances surrounding the shooting have not been confirmed at time of writing, and Indonesian Police in Nabire have refused to answer phone and SMS messages from WestPapuaMedia and also local stringers.

A human rights monitor in Nabire who exposed the news observed that the “Motive Appears unknown (as) conducted by the police, but people of Papua demand the Indonesian state carries out a just “crack down” on any human rights violations that occurred.” 

This shooting is not the first time an event like this has occurred. On 5 December 2014 the Bloody Paniai incident occurred that left four unarmed Papuan teenagers dead and 17 more Papuans injured when the Indonesian army and police opened fire on peaceful protesters in Paniai.

Some Papuans who have gathered outside the Regents office after the killing told UmagiNews that they “questioned the Indonesian government’s seriousness in resolving human rights violations by the Indonesian military.”

“Bloody Nabire has returned, the security apparatus of the Republic of Indonesia is shooting the indigenous people of West Papua, using the tools of State (guns)”

WestPapuaMedia

*Editor WPM has extensive Street Medic and HEFAT Combat First Responder/Aid experience

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Indon police begin another crackdown on KNPB activists ahead of May 31 mobilisations

by West Papua Media

May 30, 2016

Indonesian police have arrested scores of West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat) members around Papua on May 30, as Papuan civil society is gearing up for a day a mass mobilizations to sustain pressure brought on by the massive May 3 rallies, where Indonesian security forces beat hundreds of people and arrested close to 2300 people.

KNPB members across Papua were handing out pamphlets calling on West Papuan society to rally on May 31 for international mediation to allow West Papuans to exercise their universal human rights of Self-Determination, long denied by Indonesia.

The May 31 rally will also be demonstrating Papuan support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) bid for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which was due to meet in Port Moresby this week, but the meeting has been postponed.

In Jayapura, 24 KNPB members were arrested at 1250pm outside the office of Papua Province Governor Lukas Enembe, at Dock 2 Jayapura whilst handing out flyers. Together with the Chairman KNPB (Numbay Area), Mr. Calvin Wenda &
the 
Chief Diplomatic Commissioner from KNPB’s Central Committee, Mr. Cobabe Waninbo, they were taken and held at Jayapura Police headquarters.  

At time of writing, no response had occurred to WPM attempts to contact Jayapura police regarding charges or time of release.

According to KNPB sources, Police have alleged that the leaflets contain subversive material, and all gatherings of KNPB members are illegal as the organisation is forbidden from registration as a legal by a Jakarta mandate, despite the rights allegedly afforded to Papuan people under the long since abandoned “Special Autonomy” provisions, and guaranteed to all other Indonesian citizens.

Riot Police belonging to the Dalmas public order unit at 1420 swooped on the Yapis bus stop outside Abepura, and arrested all 34 KNPB Members handing out the allegedly subversive leaflets, confiscating them as well as personal possessions. 

In Wamena, several KNPB activist were chased, arrested and beaten by Indonesian police for handing out the flyers outside the KNPB Baliem office, activists had just begun leafletting for the May 31 mobilisation when Brimob police swooped and captured 21 of the KNPB activists.  

Their names are as follows: 

  1. Warpo Sampari Wetipo
  2. Hasan Kogoya
  3. Marta Haluk
  4. Mardi Heluka
  5. Hery Kosay
  6. Firdaus Hilapok
  7. Paska Iyaba
  8. Marsel Marian,
  9. Melianus Kosay
  10. Hiron Hiluka
  11. Yufry Kogoya
  12. Pilemon Meaga
  13. Domy Meaga
  14. Manu Wuka
  15. Martinus Wamu
  16. Deminus Qantik
  17. Ardis Wilil
  18. Nuber Surabut
  19. Mely Wantik
  20. Asa Asso
  21. Yulius Towolom.


Earlier, Three KNPB activists –  Darpinus Bayage, Ison Bahabol and Amiter Bahabol – were arrested for leafletting the same flyers at 1025am in  Dekai town, Yahukimo, outside the local Bupati (Regent’s) 
office.

According to witnesses of the arrest, interviewed by a WPM stringer, the three KNPB activists were beaten as they were taken to the paddy wagon, and the witnesses reported that they believed the detainees were being “even more severely beaten once the got taken away in the vehicle.

At time of writing, the three were still being detained at the Yakuhimo police station.
A KNPB source in Yahukimo, Marten Suhun, said “despite intimidation and torture happening in Yahukimo, but we KNPB will stay out on the streets (on May 31) according to the (KNPB) national agenda.”

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