Chairman of KNPB arrested – many calls for his release

Bintang Papua, 7 June 2012The Chairman of the KNPB – National Committee for West PapuaBuchtar Tabuni  has been arrested. He was taken into custody while travelling by bus  in Abepura. Two others were arrested with him.

Deputy police chief, Brig-Gen Waterpauw  said that Tabuni had been arrested in connection with a number of recent incidents in Jayapura including the stabbing to death of a student. The police officer said: ‘A number of demonstrations have taken place which had called on others in the community to take part. These vents were anarchic and were in violation of the law.’ [Since when has it been against the law to demonstrate anywhere in Indonesia?]

Asked whether Tabuni’s arrest was connected with a number of unexplained shootings, the police officer said ‘These shootings are under investigation and we are trying to find out who it is who is behind them.’

He said there had been no addition to the number of troops in the area. The officer said that the  police were already aware of the features of the persons responsible  and added that they believe that four persons are involved in the shootings.

The chairman of Commision  A of the DPRP, the provincial legislative assembly, Ruban Magay, along with other members of the commission had been to the police headquarters to call for the unconditional release of Tabuni. A similar demand has been made by politicians from the  Partai Demokrat who said that Tabuni had visited the Commission at their invitation. The chairman said: ‘The continued detention of Bochtar Tabuni would only intensify the current problems in Papua which appear to be never-ending.

Just prior to his arrest, Tabuni had been seen chatting with members of the DPRP and with journalists.

Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Don’t blame OPM for mysterious shootings, says DPRP member

JUBI, 18 April, 2012
There have been a number of shootings in Papua in recent months but mystery surrounds the problem of who is responsible.Ruben Magay, the chairman of Commission A of  DPRP, the provincial legislative assembly  of Papua, said that  the failure of the police to deal with this problem was a sign of their lack of professionalism. This is what is worrying the Papuan people, ‘ he said ‘What they are doing is far from what the people expects. and hope for.’He said that he had warned the chief of police and the military commander to stop blaming the OPM. Making such claims is a sign of the lack of ability of the security forces.’

‘We can only accuse the OPM if there is clear evidence of their involvement.’ He said that the police should also stop talking about unidentified persons. It is only when someone is arrested and charged before a court of law on the basis of evidence that things become clear.’ We need to make things clear for the people. It is as though the police are trying to conceal their own incompetence.’

He said for a second time: ‘Dont keep talking about the OPM until you have evidence. And don’t talk about geographical problems as the facilities available are the ones that have been provided by the state.. Is anything lacking?’

Police issue ultimatum to Buchtar Tabuni

Bintang Papua, 6 April, 2012

Despite the threat of resistance from the KNPB in response to a summons from the police to its chairperson, Buchtar Tabuni,  the police chief, Drs BL Tobing said that they will continue to issue the summons  the chairperson of the KNPB to take responsibility for the demonstrations.

‘We will give him until two or three weeks after Easter to respond to our summons. If he fails to respond, we will have to use force to bring him here.’

He said that the summons had been issued because the demonstrations were anarchic and the particpants had been carrying traditional weapons such as spears  and bows-and-arrows and took place outside the Abepura Post Office and in Taman Imbi on Tuesday 20 March and Monday 2 April.

According to the chief of police, traditional weapons were only to be carried  on ritual occasions

He said that the KNPB had broken its promise about the demonstration.  He also said that the KNPB was trying to influence public opinion and had adopted the position of rejecting a police summons.

KNPB will not respond to police summons

Bintang Papua, 3 April 2012

The insistence by the chief of police in Papua that Buchtar Tabuni, the chairperson of KNPB – the National Committee of West Papua – be held responsible for the KNPB organising two demonstrations instead of just one has led to a response from the KNPB.

The chairperson of the KNPB, Mako Tabuni, said that the organisation will not respond to the summons from the police, whether or not they intend to arrest Buchtar Tabuni, saying that if Buchtar is arrested, they will take strong action again the police.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, 3 April, Mako said that there was no foundation whatever to what the police chief said.

He said that they had been forced to hold their demonstration in two places, in Abepura and in Taman Imbi because the police had failed to acknowledge the organisation’s notification to the police about the forthcoming demonstration.

‘Now, they even want to take proceedings against us.’

He also said that the fact that they intended to carry traditional weapons was simply because they were being used for cultural purposes, as the cultural attributes of the Papuan  people.

‘The demonstration is an action regarding our people’s future, and if the police complain that it caused traffic congestion,  then we think that the police should behave more professionally. We know that demonstrations take place in other parts of the country, such as in Java and Makasar which have been going on for days and causing traffic jams because they are quite legal. This is a time of demonstrations.(a reference apparently to the many demonstrations currently taking place across Indonesia in protest against the increase in the price of petrol).

‘If we are to be taken to court because we hold demonstrations, then we have to accept that we are not living in a democracy.

‘If we are not allowed to demonstrate, then we will resort o other ways in our calls for a referendum because Indonesia is holding on to West Papua as the result of a process that was illegal.’  [Here the reference is to the so-called act of free choice in 1969.]

He also complained about the media coverage which he said, focussed on things like traffic jams, shops being closed or children being sent home from school, without mentioning the purpose of the demonstration.

‘So if we are denied the space to demonstrate,  we will have to resort to other measures .’

He warned the police to consider the consequences of acting like a colonial power, adding that they had no intention of responding to the summons from the police.

He also said that the claim that a journalist was killed during the KNPB demonstration was quite untrue. and was just a trick to denigrate the intentions of the KNPB  whenever they organise demonstrations. and an attempt to damage the good relations which the KNPB has had with the local press.for many years.

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

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