Tag Archives: militias

Papuan students attacked with machetes in Manado, 2 dead, 4 injured: WARNING GRAPHIC

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF INDONESIAN STATE VIOLENCE

from our partners at MajalahSelangkah.com, with additional reporting by West Papua Media

original report Sunday 19th October 2014,

2 Victim Petius Tabuni after being hacked to death by militias in Manado. Photo supplied

Victim Petius Tabuni after being hacked to death by militias in Manado. Photo supplied (accompanying image too gruesome to display openly, if you must see this click here.)

 Manado, MAJALAH SELANGKAH – a Papuan student, Petius Tabuni, was hacked to death with machetes by unknown assailants, believed to be militia, around 3am local time on Sunday morning(19/10/2014) in Tondano City, Manado, North Sulawesi.

Petius, a student at Manado State Political-technical university,  died on the spot from his extensive and vicious  machete wounds across his back, body, head and face.  Five other Papuans who went to look for him were also attacked and rushed to a hospital nearby, by the same assailants.  The names of the other students and dead boy have not yet been released at time of writing.

“At this point, the  situation in Manado is not very safe. We are all too scared to leave our dormitories,”  a student from Manado told majalahselangkah.com on Sunday.

The incident began as students from Manado University (UNIMA) on Saturday night (18/10/2014) were holding a graduation celebration party at the student dormitory village of Tataaran Patar Minahasa.

The victim was reported to have been intoxicated, and left the party. Around 03:00 am, he telephoned his brother and friends saying he was being attacked.   When 5 of his friends came to the place he had called from, they found him already lying dead.

Before they had time to park their motorbikes, they were attacked with machetes for over twenty minutes by a large group of local Manado people loitering in the darkness nearby. The five were severely injured with machete wounds, with one of the five students, reportedly just out of middle school, died in hospital.

Local sources reported that a large group of Papuan students at Tondano are being forced to barricade themselves and have been stranded in their student boarding houses.   They can not leave even with a rental car, according to local sources, because there is information circulating that the perpetrators are still looking for more Papuan victims.

Manado police have refused to return calls from West Papua Media about the status of the victims and the current security situation for Papuan students in Manado.  (BT/014/MS/WPM)

Additional reporting, Edited and translated by Westpapuamedia

Sorry: Indon Army Backs Down Over Threats

via NewMatilda.com

By Alex Rayfield

The chief of the Indonesian Army in West Papua has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a public apology to the Kingmi Papua Church over a leaked letter first published in New Matilda, reports Alex Rayfield

In an extraordinary media statement dated Monday 18 July the chief of the Army in Indonesian occupied West Papua, Major-General Erfi Triassunu, issued a very public apology to the leadership and congregation of the Kingmi Papua Church.

In the statement, a copy of which has been obtained by New Matilda, the general writes, “if I caused any offence to the Kingmi Papua Church I am sorry”.

Reverend Benny Giay, the moderator of the embattled Kingmi Papua Church, and a subject of the general’s initial ire, said that “this is perhaps the first time in West Papuan history that an Indonesian Army Chief has apologised to the West Papuan church”.

A copy of the original letter was also obtained by New Matilda who published an exclusive story on 7 July. The article was then republished in Open Democracy, written about in daily newspaper Bintang Papua and discussed extensively in blogs, Facebook and email lists inside and outside West Papua.

In the original letter (marked “secret” and dated 30 April 2011) Triassunu repeats claims made by representatives of Kingmi Indonesia, an Indonesian-wide church, that Kingmi Papua is a separatist organisation. In his letter, the general weighed into a conflict that he himself notes is an internal church matter.

The most disturbing phrase in the original letter is a veiled threat by the chief of the Army to take “assertive action” if the conflict between Kingmi Indonesia and Kingmi Papua is not resolved. What is implied here is that the Kingmi Papua Church must cease all efforts to establish an autonomous church in West Papua or risk violent retaliation from the state. It is these kinds of statements that can encourage Indonesian nationalist militias to take the law into their own hands, says Benny Giay.

However, in the three-page apology to Kingmi Papua Church, the general claims that the military command in Papua has never stated that Kingmi Papua is a separatist organisation. He also clarifies the meaning of the phrase “assertive action”, insisting that he did not mean to imply “repressive action” but rather wanted to encourage the civil authorities in Papua to resolve the internal church conflict “on the basis of peace and mercy”.

If true, it marks a seismic policy shift for the Indonesian Army in West Papua — news that will certainly be welcome to Giay. Kingmi Papua’s pastors have been killed at the hands of the Indonesian Military since they first occupied West Papua in 1963. Papuan Church leaders and their congregations across Papua are regularly harassed and intimidated by Indonesian security forces. Public beatings and torture by the security forces is also systemic in Papua, meted out on the basis of race and often conducted in public view, reports ANU based academic Br. Budi Hernawan.

While welcoming the apology, Giay urges the civilian and military authorities in Indonesia to go further. In an open letter to the Susilo Bambang Yudhuyono dated 16 July, Giay asks the President to guarantee Kingmi Papua’s right to exist. An apology from the chief of the Army in Papua after all, is no guarantee of religious freedom.

Giay maintains that the real cause of the conflict, whether between Kingmi Indonesia and Kingmi Papua or the Indonesian government and the Kingmi Church, is political and fundamentally connected to the history of Papua. To break the impasse Giay repeats the call for “dialogue” and an end to “stigmatising” the Papuan people for wanting to address the root causes of state violence in Papua.

Recognition of the right of the Church in Papua to speak out on behalf of the oppressed and to take nonviolent action in protection of their congregations is an acid test for freedom of speech in West Papua.

To date the Indonesian Government has failed that test.

While the general seeks to reassure Papuans that the Army wants to resolve problems on the basis of “peace” and “mercy”, their approach has been inconsistent at best. Papuans are still not allowed to raise the Morning Star flag or sing their national anthem “Hai Tanahku Papua“. Filep Karma, who has been sentenced to 15 years for nonviolent action remains in jail along with scores of other Papuan political prisoners. A press conference by the West Papua National Committee earlier this month concerning current military operations in Puncak Jaya had to be cancelled because of police and military intimidation of the both the organisers and invited journalists.

The Indonesian constitution ostensibly guarantees the right to free speech but it looks a lot like that freedom does not reach West Papua. Until that changes any claim that Indonesia is a democracy rings hollow.

For now, however, Benny Giay and Kingmi Papua are claiming the apology as a “small victory”.

Whether that victory can be defended and extended remains to be seen.

Australian media reports about KINGMI church supporting Papua Merdeka

Bintang Papua, 15 July, 2011

ARE AUSTRALIAN MEDIA REPORTS THAT KINGMI CHURCH SUPPORTS PAPUA MERDEKA TRUE?

The KINGMI Church in the the Land of Papua has raised its concern about a report in an Australian newspaper on 7 July alleging that the KINGMI Church is using special autonomy (OTSUS) funds it receives from the provincial government to fund activities to prepare for Papuan
independence and secession from the Republic of Indonesia. The Synod of
the Church referred to Major-General Erfi Triassunu, the military
commander of the Cenderawasih Military Command XVII, as the source of
the report.

The KINGMI Church has asked the military commander to acknowledge
responsibility for the statement.

This was stated by the chairman of Commission A of the Papuan
Legislative Assembly, the DPRP, Ruben Magai, along with commission
member, Ignasius W. Mimin during a meeting with leaders of the KINGMI
Church Synod.

When Bintang Papua sought confirmation from the military commander that he thought the KINGMI Church was separatist, he denied it, saying that he had never said this. All he wanted was that the conflict should not be used by a third party to disrupt peace in the Land of Papua.

The military commander said that he was frequently asked for assurances of security from churches that were being overwhelmed by internal conflicts, but he had asked the provincial governor to resolve these matters.

‘It is not the task of TNI (Indonesian army) institutions to resolve conflicts but we are prepared to help if requested to do so by the regional government,’ he said.

Ruben Magai said that by making such a statement, the military commander was brushing aside a number of serious problems in Papua such as corruption and recent shooting incidents which the Indonesian government had failed to resolve.   He said he would be calling on the military commander to acknowledge responsibility for making a statement that stigmatises the KINGMI Church for allegedly using OTSUS funds to fund Papua’s independence as well as calling on the provincial government to give a clarification about OTSUS funds being used for religious guidance in the Land of Papua.

The chairman of the Synod of the KINGMI Church, Dr Beny Giay, said that
he had conveyed his concerns about the military commander having
disseminated a political document which apparently says that the KINGMI Church had been set up to use money received from the government to support Papuan independence. ‘The military commander’s document was leaked to us and when we checked the report, it was confirmed. We believe that what has been reported in the Australian media is indeed correct.’

Meanwhile, the legal advisor of the KINGMI Church Synod, Benny W.
Pakage, said he had called on the military commander to explain what the legal basis was for his statement. ‘We want to know what his intentions are,’ he said.To indicate their rejection of such a statement, they are planning to hold a demonstration and prayer meeting outside the DPRP office on Wednesday.

Groups Urge Obama Administration to Reject Dino Patti Djalal as Indonesia's Ambassador

Groups Urge Obama Administration to Reject Dino Patti Djalal as Indonesia’s Ambassador

Contact: John M. Miller  (ETAN) 718-596-7668
Ed McWilliams (WPAT) 401-568-5845 (until Sept. 21), 575-648-2078 (after)

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) are deeply concerned about the appointment of Dino Patti Djalal as the Indonesia’s Ambassador-designate to the United States. We urge President Obama to reject his credentials and urge Jakarta to send an Ambassador untainted by complicity with human rights violations and with greater credibility.

Ambassador Djalal was a defender of the Suharto dictatorship, and his career involved him in brutal repression. While defending the Indonesian security forces in East Timor (now independent Timor-Leste), he would often attack human rights investigators and organizations. He sought to portray the violence there as civil conflict among East Timorese, rather than resulting from repression of resistance to Indonesia’s illegal and brutal occupation.

The Suharto dictatorship and the Habibie government that followed promoted Djalal as Indonesia’s leading “expert” on East Timor. During that time, Djalal reportedly had close links with the Indonesian army’s intelligence agency.

In 1999, during and after East Timor’s historic UN-organized vote on independence, Djalal was based in East Timor as the spokesperson for the Satgas P3TT (the Indonesian “Task Force for Popular Consultation in East Timor”).  In that capacity he took the lead in the Task Force’s political initiatives.

As Task Force spokesman, Djalal quickly emerged as its leading political heavyweight, taking the lead in leveling false accusations against UNAMET (UN Assistance Mission for East Timor). In his official capacity Djalal also served as flack for the militias created and directed by the Indonesian military to terrorize the East Timorese population in the run-up to August 1999 vote. Those militias and their Indonesian security force allies repeatedly attacked East Timorese civilians, burning villages and assaulting churches in attempt to frighten the population into voting against independence. The militias also sought to intimidate the UN teams sent to prepare for the vote and the international media and humanitarian organizations in the country to monitor the process.

As international alarm over the excesses of the militias and their Indonesian military sponsors grew, Djalal played a key role in seeking to deflect criticism of the militias and the military.

Djalal denied the reality that militias were arming in the run-up to the vote and sought  to obscure militia and military atrocities against civilians in East Timor. He was a dogged critic of international journalists and human right organizations who sought to report these atrocities.

In the wake of East Timor’s overwhelming vote for independence, the Indonesian security forces and their militias rampaged throughout country exacting revenge for the people’s rejection of Jakarta’s rule. The militia and military attacks destroyed vital infrastructure and buildings. They targeted UN facilities and personnel, as well as international journalists, diplomats and other observers. Djalal was key in Jakarta’s unsuccessful efforts to deny the  reality of the which cost the lives of approximately 1,500 East Timorese, displaced two-thirds of its population, and destroyed 75 percent of East Timor’s infrastructure.

In diplomatic assignments in the U.S., Great Britain and Canada, Djalal focused on defending the role of the unreformed and abusive Indonesian military, including targeting of its foreign critics. More recently he has served as Presidential spokesperson.

Ambassador Djalal’s past as an apologist for the worst behavior of the Indonesian military and its minions augers poorly for international efforts, especially in the United States, to press for  justice and accountability for past human rights crimes and genuine reform of Indonesia’s security forces. As the situation in West Papua becomes increasingly tense, will Djalal serve as Indonesia’s Washington-based apologist for continued repression?

In the interest of promoting strengthened U.S.-Indonesian relations based on respect for human rights, ETAN and WPAT believe that the U.S. government should not accept Djalal’s credentials as Indonesia’s Ambassador to the United States.

http://etan.org/news/2010/09djalal.htm