Tag Archives: Military Sweep Operation

Paniai sweeps intensify misery under Indonesian control as security forces ban music and torture priest

by West Papua Media

March 6, 2013

Local residents in Paniai regency are bracing for more repression in sweep operations by Indonesian security forces after two separate incidents across the Paniai have intensified ongoing crackdowns on West Papuan independence sentiment, torturing a  local priest and even banning the possession of traditional music.

The latest crackdown, imposed in Paniai after guerrillas from Paniai commander Jhon Yogi’s Paniai unit of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) were involved in armed engagements with the Indonesian army (TNI) and Police throughout February .

Reliable human rights sources in Paniai have reported to West Papua Media that an influx of joint TNI and police have “arrived with total war equipment” to bolster sweeps and raids across Paniai against civilians accused of holding pro-independence sentiments.

“In order to confront the TPN PB and on orders from President SBY, a brigade of TNI / Police have arrived with total war equipment. There were drops of TNI/POLRI in Paniai on 3 March 2013. The brigade arrived by 7 ‘Inova’ vehicles via the coast road,” the source told West Papua Media.

Helicopters belonging to illegal gold miners in Degouwo were again being used by Indonesian troops to support the operation, similar to the massive offensive against Paniai people during 2011 and early 2012, according to both human rights and church sources.

“A yellow and white helicopter owned by an illegal business in Degouwo at 13.00 WPB (west Papua time) made two drops of personnel and logistical war equipment. The first drop was to the Enarotali airport in Paniai district, and the second helicopter drop of the brigade forces together with war equipment was at Obano also, in the west of Paniai district,” the human rights source told West Papua Media.

Independent sources are also reporting that Indonesian colonial occupation forces are putting massive pressure on local civilians, with routine violations of civilian’s dignity, and arbitrary strip searches, that have created opportunities for brutality and torture on local people.

The notorious battalion 753 from Nabire has erected scores of “state of emergency tents” every 5-10 kilometres along the main road between Nabire and Paniai, according to witnesses. “TNI are carrying out very strict checking of everything. The TNI from unit 753 are undoing the clothes of every passenger in the area to check them including females. Advocacy and monitoring is requested,” said the human rights worker.

Military Destruction of traditional culture amounting to cultural genocide
Papuan independent media outlet Tabloid Jubi  has reported remarkable accounts of the extraordinary measures Indonesian police commandos from Paniai police headquarters are taking to destroy traditional Papuan culture by banning music.

Father Saul Wanimbo, the Director of the Commission for Justice and Peace (SKP) in Timika diocese, told Tabloid Jubi that during police sweeps, local people are being forced to hand over their mobile phones.  They analyse the memory cards on the mobile phones to find songs in Papuan language, and if the memory card is found to contain either one or many Papuan folk songs, police will smash the memory card with stones, according to Fr Wanimbo.

“The police are sweeping HP (Handphone) memory cards of Enaro society (people) for the last two months,” Wanimbo told Jubi, citing his own experiences and stories directly from Enaro residents from 1-20 Febrruary 2013.  Wanimbo said that Paniai people have been so demoralised that they just accept the oppressive actions of the occupation forces.

Wanimbo said that the actions by Police were killing three values:  “There is destruction of cultural values, murder of the people’s creativity, and character assassination.”

“The situation is conditioned in such a way so that people cannot resist. How can the people fight if the area has a variety of (security force) members lurking there,” Fr Wanimbo told Jubi.  The police acts were morally and legally wrong, police could not arbitrarily violate people’s privacy for no apparent reason, and such actions must be done with a warrant, he said.

“Paniai Police must explain the meaning of this sweeps. Or the Papua Police chief must stop the actions of the Kapolresnya (local police command) men in Enaro. This is serious. We can say it’s the beginning of the genocide, ” he said.

Priest tortured by police who then demand bribe for his release

Meanwhile, again in the Paniai regional centre of Enarotoli, local human rights workers have documented a serious case of torture of a local priest.  According to human rights workers attached to the Kingmi church, at 8.30 in the morning on March 2, Reverend Yunus Gobai (55 years) was arrested, threatened and tortured by local and Brimob commando police at the Enarotali (Kapolresnya) police compound in Paniai district.

According to the report received and confirmed by West Papua Media, as a result of beating Gobai’s nose was bleeding, his upper and lower lips were split and  bleeding, and he sustained abrasions on his hands, swelling on his forehead and cuts on his head, after which he he was put in a cell at the Police Sector command (Polsek) in Enarotali.

Family members went to request his release from the Police station, but the Paniai police demanded a bribe or ransom money to free him, according to the report.  Family members reported they were forced to gather money in order to pay the police, and a Paniai member of the DPRD directly handed over to police one million rupiah (about US$103) at Polsek Paniai.  Reverend Gobai was then released at 1030am local time, and taken straight home to his village by his family, according to the report.

Rev Gobai is the former pastor and head of the council of the community of KINGMI Maranatha Nabire. According to his family, after Rev Gobai became pastor of the community he suffered from (an undefined) mental disturbance together with epilepsy.  Gobai’s family reported that he would regularly be seen “shouting for no reason or running around shouting”.

Reverend Gobai was arrested after exhibiting these symptoms outside the police station in Enarotoli, causing his arrest, but police did not treat the issue as an illness and used unwarranted torture and inhumane treatment on the pastor, according to the report.

(WPM Editor’s Comment: Whilst the KINGMI report uses unclear terminology describing the pastor’s behaviour as “mental illness”, often random outbursts of unintelligible shouting and psychotic visions are perfectly normal and accepted behaviour of Christian pentecostal pastors, Muslim imans, Hindu holy people, and almost all other religious leaders and clerics across human history.  To arrest and torture someone for this behaviour is to ignore the experience of humanity.)

Paniai is no stranger to unrestrained Indonesian security force violence and torture against local people, primarily made up of members of the Mee tribe.  Previous offensives in the  Paniai since December 2011 have displaced tens of thousands of civilians, and burnt down hundreds of villages.  Paniai was the scene of widespread military operations between 1963-1969, 1977-1978, and again in 1981-1982. During this period U.S. supplied Bronco aircraft were used to bomb villages while helicopters strafed Papuans with machine gun fire.

West Papua Media

TPN/OPM warned of deadline for return of two weapons

Bintang Papua, 6 September 2011The executive committee of the Synod of the KINGMI Church in the Land of Papua has responded to the threat issued by the police force in Paniai that failure to hand back two firearms by the end of Wednesday, 7 September  would mean that the police will launch hunt and search operations against the TPN/OPM led by John Yogi.

According to the KINGMI Church, these search operations  against John Yogi who is alleged to have seized the weapons, could result in possibly hundreds or even thousands of casualties of innocent people among the civilian population, said Dr Benny Giay.

The deputy chairman of the Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission, Matius Murib, also had a meeting with Ruben Magai, the chairman of commission A of the DPRP about the issue.

Dr Benny Giay of the KINGMI Church called on Commission A of the DPRP to provide the opportunity for local leaders and churches to hold discussions with John Yogi and his comrades. The reason for doing so was that, according to reports from local communities in Paniai, everyday life in Paniai has been paralysed and many local inhabitants  have fled their villages in a state of trauma, havng heard about the forthcoming operations against the TPN/OPM. ‘We call upon Commission A and the chief of police to do everything possible to prevent casualties among the civilian population,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Albert Kesya, said that plans to launch search operations against the TPN/OPM had been made public at a time when the congregation were involved in Spiritual Camping in Madi Kampung, Enaro,sub-district of Paniai. on 26 July. which is not far from the location where the headquarters of the TPN/OPM is believed to be based. Even so, Brimob forces in Panai had attacked and seized many things, including thousands of bullets (the figure given in the article is 40,000), Rp 50 million, twelve hand phones, ten bows and arrows, and a Yamaha motorbike.

Deputy chairman of the National Human Rights Commission in Papua, Matius Murib, said the government and the security forces need to pay attention to three things.  There can be no justification for anyone among the authorities or the population to use violence and cause  casualties among the population. ‘Such actions,’ he said, ‘were rejected by human rights organisations around the world, bearing in mind that  Indonesia has ratified  covenants against the use of violence. and the loss of lives. Secondly, the local population needs to hold negotiations with the TPN/OPM. Whatever the situation, people like John Yogi  and his group can be expected to listen and to understand.’

‘There is no need to set a deadline for the launching of operations. Weapons belonging to the state should be in the hands of the state. There can be no justification for launching search operations against the TNP/OPM. There are weapons in the hands of many groups. And there are many weapons in the hands of  people who are not authorised to hold weapons.’

‘People cannot be allowed to do things that will result in victims falling among the civilian population.’ He said that some people can be expected to use weapons as a bargaining point to achieve certain objectives, but trying to force people to return weapons  will never solve the problems.’

Ruben Magai, chairman of Commission A of the DPRP in Papua, called on the chief of police in Papua to use social means, not military means, because the latter will only traumatise the people and make them very afraid.

KNPB on the recent acts of violence in Papua

Bintang Papua, 6 September

According to the KNPB – National Committee for West Papua – the many acts of violence that have been occurring in Papua recently would appear to be part of a scenario designed by certain quarters.’

‘This scenario is being promoted by people who want to get their hands on funding. These acts of terror or intimidation are aimed at warning Papuans not to go on pressing for their human rights.,’ said Mako Tabuni of the KNPB, speaking alongside Buchtar Tabuni, the general chairman of the KNPB, as well as Viktor Kogoya, during a press conference at the Prime Garden, Abepura on 6 September.

They said that the KNPB would not be influenced by these incidents. ‘We, as the voice of the Papuan people, will continue to speak up for the human rights which are the true aspirations of the people of West Papua,’ said Mako Tabuni.

On this occasion too, he said, the fifteen arrests were made by joint patrols of the Indonesian army and police (TNI/Polri) of fifteen Papuans (thirteen have since been released ). They were detained by members of the police force in Jayapura. The arrested men are all members of the Wahno Baptist congregation which is located in south Jayapura. He also said that the arrests were made to the accompaniment of acts of violence, and moreover, the correct procedures were not complied with.

The arrests were made in the village of Nafri on 1 August because those in authority had not been able to arrest the real culprits who had committed the acts of violence.

He also said that a nine-year old boy, Dessy Koyoga, had disappeared from the home of Biben Kogoya, the local sub-district chief, at the time of the arrest of the fifteen people.

‘There are indications that the boy was kidnapped by the security forces involved in the arrests. The parents of the boy are still searching for their young son.’

The KNPB say that a special team should be set up by the DPRP (the local legislative assembly) along with those NGOs which have responsibility for undertaking investigations so that the true facts about this case can be made known.

Komnas HAM calls on security forces to halt military operations in Puncak Jaya

Bintang Papua, 11 August 2010

Komnas HAM calls on security forces to halt military operations in Puncak Jaya

The Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has called on the police and the army to immediately end their military operations in Puncak Jaya district because they will never solve the root of the problems in the area.

The Komnas HAM statement was made public at its office in Jayapura by deputy chairman Mathius Murib on Wednesday.

He said that from 17 August 2004 up to August 2010 the inhabitants of Puncak Jaya have lived in a constant state of trauma because of reports that dozens of people as well as members of the security forces have been shot dead and murdered in Puncak Jaya. ‘As a result, the people there are traumatised and unable to carry on with their activities, with some of them leaving the area in search of tranquillity elsewhere.’

Murib said that in order to avoid further casualties, the police and the army (Polri/TNI) should immediately stop all operations to hunt people down in Puncak Jaya district and consider other ways of resolving the problems there.

‘We believe that force of arms or other forms of violence will never resolve these problems and will only lead to yet more problems and more casualties.’

He also urged the civilian population in the area to remain calm and consolidate their efforts so as to be able to function normally, and to avoid being provoked by issues coming from irresponsible elements.

Murib said that Komnas HAM will be urging the district chief of Puncak Jaya as well as civil society, in particular the church, to draft a comprehensive account of developments during the current year.

He said that the role of the church was important because church mediation has been able to solve a number of problems in the Land of Papua, and moreover those involved in the conflict were all members of the church.

The Komnas HAM team which has just returned from Puncak Jaya has also called on senior police officers in Puncak Jaya to initiate legal proceedings against all those persons or groups deemed to be involved in the Puncak Jaya case from 2004 up to 2010.

‘The Puncak Jaya case is not a new case and thereforre all individuals or groups involved in the case for the past six years should be brought to account in accordance with the laws in Indonesia,’ said Murib, who has just returned from Puncak Jaya where he conducted investigations.



9 July 2010

Report by Piron Moribnak, Puncak Jaya

First part :
On Friday, 9 July 2010 TNI/Polri forces shot dead a TPN/OPM member sent from the Tingginambut headquarters in Kampung Jambi. NUMBUNGGA GIRE died at the hands of the Indonesian security apparatus and was then cremated by OPM members and villagers in Kampung Jambi. No picture could be attached to this report since the access from Kota Mulia to the place was blocked by military forces. Source: Witness from Kampung Jambi (D. GAME).

Second part
In May, I sent a report on two churches and villager’s houses torched down by Indonesian military in two villages in Tingginambut District, Yarmukum and Pilia. At that time, I did not have any pictures to testify. Here are a few pictures of the brutalities committed then by the TNI forces against villagers’ properties. These houses were burnt down by INDONESIAN MILITARY.

Picture 1 : Houses were torched down by military, forcing villagers to live in shelters, Tingginambut District. Picture taken by Dopes Morib

Picture 2 : An example of the Indonesian military perpetuated arsons : the GIDI church in Yarmukum, May 2010, Tingginambut District.

Picture 3 : A woman searches the ashes of an Indonesian military torched house for an axe or a knife, Pilia GIDI church, Tingginambut District.

(WPmedia note: Other photos were also included in the report but were not included as they do not show any significant evidence. see below)

(not included:
Picture 4 : A woman and her children appear helpless after their house was burnt down. They are now forced to live in a shelter under the banana trees (which doesn’t appear in the picture), Tingginambut District.
Picture 5 : A villager’s house that was also torched by the Indonesian military in Yarmukum, Tingginambut District.
Note – this image does not show any clear evidence of arson)