Tag Archives: TPN/OPM

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

When will the autopsy of Danny Kogoya’s body take place?

From Papua Daily at Tabloid Jubi

January 2, 2014

Danny Kogoya (Jubi)

Danny Kogoya (Jubi)

Jayapura, 2/1 (Jubi) – The delayed autopsy toward Danny Kogoya’s body on demand of his family is still unclear. Papua Human Rights Defender activist, Matius Murib, states the negotiation between the family and the Government of Indonesia are still continuing.

“From our last negotiations with Kogoya’s family, the Consulate of Indonesia and the Office of Civil Security in Vanimo, PNG, dated 20 December 2013, it has resulted some points of agreements. One point is his family requested the autopsy of Danny Kogoya’s body to prove the cause of his death. However, it is not yet known when the autopsy is scheduled. The family asked that the autopsy should be conducted in the hospital in Vanimo. Thus, there is still a tug of war between the Kogoya’s family and the GoI (government of Indonesia),” said Matius Murib via his cellphone on Thursday (2/1).

According to him, the other point that resulted from the negotiation is the funeral procession will be carried out after the autopsy, agreed that both sides will keep the security situation peaceful.  All parties were asked to contribute in accelerating the handling process of this case, to combat the impression of ignoring it.

“We will continue to mediate the case in order to achieve the goal that is equally well received by the Governments of PNG and Indonesia, in particularly to fulfill the sense of justice and peace, especially for the family of the victim. May the spirit of a peaceful Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014, make us more wise and prudent, to observe and respect the human rights for all human beings,” said Murib.

However, differing from Murib’s statement, the autopsy plan according to the Consulate of Indonesia will be taken in 7 January 2014.   Jihar Gultom, the Head of Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo, said to Jubi, Thursday (2/1) that the agreement to do the autopsy was decided in 23 December 2013.  At the time when this decision was made, was joined by the family of Danny Kogoya and the Governor of Sandaun, and a representative of the Government of Port Moresby (PNG).

“We met Kogoya’s family and the Government of Sandaun before Christmas. There are also 3 delegates from Port Moresby. In respect of the celebration of Christmas, the autopsy is scheduled to be conducted before 7 January 2014 by a doctor from Port Moresby in Vanimo,” said Jihar Gultom.

When contacted by Jubi, Jefrey Pagawak, representing Danny Kogoya’s family,  admitted that the family has met the Government of PNG and the Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo to discuss the determination of the autopsy’s schedule.

“The Indonesian Consul in Vanimo at first did not agree about the autopsy. They wanted to send Danny’s body to Jayapura immediately for the result to be equally well received by both parties, that was their reason.  But, when the authority of PNG who represented by Moses Poi from Foreign Affairs Division of the Government of PNG came to Vanimo to discuss this situation, they finally agreed.  We, as representatives of the family, met Jihar Gultom, Head of Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo, yesterday, Monday (23/12).  Previously, we met Mr.Moses Poi from the Foreign Affairs of the Government of PNG to agree that in respect to Christmas and New Year, Danny’s body will be autopsied after New Year’s celebrations, before 7 January,” explained Jefrey.

Danny Kogoya died in the early December 2013 in PNG. He was called as leader of the National Liberation Army of Free Papua Movement. He was detained in Mapolresta Jayapura in 2012, accused as being the mastermind behind a series of 2011 shootings in Jayapura and surrounding areas.  Kogoya sustained gunshot injuries in his legs during his arrest, and his legs were amputated without permission by surgeons allegedly acting under instruction from Jayapura police.

However he was released on Saturday, 11 May 2013 after charges were dropped. After his release, Danny Kogoya crossed to Papua New Guinea to live with his family but in early December 2013, he passed away, with the exact cause of his death unknown.

The representative of Indonesian Consulate claimed that the cause of Danny Kogoya’s death was the liver cancer.  Opposing this claim, the family representative in Vanimo said that Danny was killed gradually through a slow acting poison that was injected whilst undergoing surgery of leg amputation. (Jubi/Arjuna/P. Maizier)

With editing and additional reporting by West Papua Media

Quid pro quo: Goliath Tabuni allegedly threatens to shoot police chief after police place Tabuni on wanted list

Bintang Papua
7 April 2013
In response to the announcement by the police that they have placed Goliath Tabuni on the WANTED list, Goliath Tabuni told Bintang Papua last Saturday that he had laughed at the announcement, and said it was very strange bearing in mind that he has been waging a struggle already for several decades, so how come he has only now been put on the  WANTED list.
He said that he was not troubled by the announcement: ‘We know that our struggle bears risks, but making this announcement at the present time suggests that there is a certain purpose in doing so.’He went on to announce that he has ordered his men to shoot the chief of police Inspector-General Tito Karnavian.  ‘Since the chief of police has issued an announcement, I too, issue a call to my men to be prepared to  shoot the chief of police if he comes here to Puncak Jaya.”Last week’s announcement by the chief of police stated: ‘The chief commander of TPN/OPM Gen. Goliath Tabuni  is wanted in connection with the shootings which occurred on 21 February 2013 in Sinak and Tingginambut.’

Goliath Tabuni’s statement was made in a press release which stated: “In  connection with the announcement by the chief of police, the TPN/OPM herewith declares to the Indonesian government and to the general public as well as to the international community that the aim of the struggle of the TPN/OPM is clear and justified.  That is to say, it is waging a struggle for the independence of the Papuan people and to have the right to determine their own future.”

It also stated that Goliath Tabuni, as the commander-in-chief of the TPN/OPM, will issue an operational order for the chief of police Inspector-General Tito Karnavian to be shot dead if he comes to the Central Highlands for operational purposes whenever this may occur. “We are ready to shoot down the plane in which the chief of police may be travelling because we are able to classify all flights into the interior.”

“We warn the chief of police that, before issuing a ‘wanted’  order, he should take effective measures to find a solution to the political conflict in West Papua,” the statement said

“We herewith warn (Indonesian President) SBY and the Indonesian Government to take effective action to resolve the conflict about the status of  West Papua, bearing in mind its status as part of the Republic of Indonesia is illegal according to all the facts that can be investigated.”

‘There must be tripartite talks between the United Nations, the Indonesian Government and representatives of the Papuan people who shall be determined by the TPN/OPM,” he said.

He finally declared that the TPN/OPM will continue with its struggle and can never be intimidated by acts of terror and intimidation by the Indonesian security forces which are carried out by the chief of police and the commander of the Cenderawasih/ VII Military Command.

[Translated by TAPOL]

 

Killing Papuan Fighter will not solve the problem, says Indonesian MP

Tabloid JUBI
8 April 2013
A Papuan member of the Indonesian Parliament, Diaz Gwijannge said that he  cannot agree with the decision to place the OPM leader, Goliath Tabuni on the WANTED list. Killing Papuan leaders can never solve the problem, he said.’I cannot agree with the decision to place Goliath Tabuni on the wanted list so that he can be killed because this will not solve the problem.’

‘A number of Papuan fighters for independence have been killed, such as Theys Eluay, Kelly Kwalik and Mako Tabuni have been killed but this has solved nothing. Even though that have died, the problem about Papuan  independence still continues,’ he said.

No-one has been forcing the Papuan people to call for independence. This is the political ideology of the Papuan people. Even if those who are fighting for independence are killed, the independence struggle will continue,’ he said. ‘There should be dialogue or whatever you want to call it because the solution must be sought by political means.’

”Dont think that we can be deceived. Just see what happened in Timor-Leste. If such things continue, people will call this an act of genocide in Papua. I think that the chief of police should be careful.  Dont  just accuse people and put them on the WANTED list. There are procedures which must be used which should guarantee people’s right to life. Only God himself can take someone’s life, not another human being,’ he said.

Gwijannge explained “The solution must be comprehensive not just partial, especially considering that the indigenous Papuan people have taken the ethical path to find a solution.  The Papuan Peace Network is pressing for dialogue and there needs to be a response to that from the Indonesian Government, by involving the OPM in dialogue,” he said.

“Aceh and Papua are very much the same, there is no difference between then. It is indeed true that GAM’s structure was very well organised. So why is it that the Acehnese conflict was resolved by the Helsinki agreement, but this is not possible for Papua? This means that there is discrimination between the two.”

“Moreover there is inconsistency in the Government’s policy  towards Papua. They were granted OTSUS – Special Autonomy – but there has been great inconsistency in its implementation. The central government has also divided the territory which has frequently led to conflicts between the Papuan people themselves.”

‘The two sides must sit down together for talks. And if necessary a third party should be involved, as was the case with GAM. Why can’t Papua be handled in the same way? It would appear that the Indonesian government is not serious about finding a solution with the result that acts of violence continue to occur,” said Gwijannge.

[Translated by TAPOL]