DPRP member criticises the absence of teachers and medics in Papua

26 March 2012A member of the Papuan legislative assembly, the DPRP, said it was very regrettable that teachers and health personnel rarely go to the more isolated parts of West Papua. Kenius Kogoya,  secretary of Commission E of the DPRP, said that although this was nothing new, it was very unfortunate indeed that this was still happening.

‘This is happening all the time in Papua, particularly in the interior. We have seen it for ourselves and feel very unhappy about this situation. Aren’t the institutions monitoring the situation in the kampungs and other places which these people should be visiting? Do they never check up on whether these people come to these places?’ he said.

He said that there was widespread neglect by officials who were failing to check on whether teachers and health workers ever turned up in the interior for work. This was happening despite the fact that  these people were being paid and that this was in accord with government policy.

‘There are serious failings in the system. They get a decent salary but no one monitors to see whether they ever go to these places. .No-one should surprised to discover that is a number of districts and kampungs, these people never turn up. They are paid a good salary but they are living elsewhere.  It is the duty of the authorities to remind them (of their duties),’ he said.
_*/The difficult geographical conditions in Papua should not be used as a reason by public service workers. These workers in the fields of education and healthcare in the regions have been given certain rights, so they should also carry out their responsibilities, he said.

He said that a considerable amount of money was being spent on education and health. ‘People are always talking about the lack of personnel and complaining that the economic circumstances were not good, but who is it that they are not good for? The authorities are simply failing to take this matter seriously. And this is a  problem that exists in almost all the districts of Papua,’ said Kenius.

‘It is as though there is a war here,’ says local leader

Statue erected to celebrate the inclusion of W...
Photo of Yos Sudarso, pointing to PNG and Australia as his next targets, in Jayapura erected by Indonesia to celebrate the invasion of West Papua
JUBI: 24 March 2012

The Ondoafi – local community leader – of Web which is located in Keerom district , Bernadus Welip, has spoken out about the presence of many military posts in his area as well as along the border (between West Papua and PNG) and said that  it is as if there is a war going on.

‘There are a great many army posts in my region which amazes me. Does this mean that there is a war here?’

He said that the presence of the military has made the people there feel very uneasy indeed. The people here cannot move around freely from one kampung to another kampung, or from  kampung to a hamlet. or from one hamlet to another.

‘We can no longer move around as we used to be able to and this makes people here feel very unsafe,’ he said.

He said that he hoped the government would withdraw the troops from there. ‘The best thing is for the military personnel to be withdrawn from here. The people will feel much freer if they do.’

P. Willy OSA, the pastor in the diocese, confirmed what the Ondoafi said. ‘I feel as if I am under threat because I stand up for my community,’ he said.  P.Willy was ordained as a Catholic priest two years ago.

According to the priest, the presence of the troops is a matter of great anxiety for the people of his congregation.

‘When the priest is away, the people feel very unsafe. They feel like this because they are always being asked questions about all kinds of things.’

He went on to say that there are far too many military posts, which makes the people feel that they are not free.

‘There are military posts every three kilometres, as well as posts along the border. ‘What we have here are Kopasus, koramil and the police,’ he said

[Translated by TAPOL]

Sound of gunfire greets Christmas in Paniai

JUBI, 23 December 2011
[Slightly abridged in translation from Indonesian]Illustration: Group of Paniai residents who left their homes because they were afraid of the shooting

There’s no sound of church bells or people singing Christmas carols. Just the sound of gunfire has been heard in Eduda every evening. The sound of gunfire in the dark of night spreads fear among the people, including those living in Enarotali which is 8 kms away

‘For the past week, we have been hearing gunfire from the direction of Eduda. Is this the sound of open warfare between the TPN/OPM and the Indonesian police? It should stop when people want to celebrate Christmas,’ said Yafeth Kayame, the head of the Mee people in Enarotali.

It is now just two days to Christmas, a time when people are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. ‘We should be singing sacred songs. But this is not what we are hearing, just the sound of gunfire as Christmas approaches. Please, help us to stop the fighting between the TPN/OPM and the Indonesian army. People want to celebrate Christmas,’ he said.

Hearing the sound of shooting around Eduda only spreads fear among the people. Some people who wanted to return to their kampungs even though things are not yet tranquil have decided not to return.

The gunfire was heard one day after an operation against Eduda, the headquarters of the TPN/OPM, by the police command in Paniai. ‘On Tuesday evening at around 6pm till late at night, gunfire could be heard, lasting for about two hours until one or two in the morning. Then it stopped but began again at 5 in the morning,’ he said.

During the day, a helicopter flew here from Madi and landed in Eduda.They said they were bringing logistics for the Matoa special unit, now operating from the former TPN/OPM base. The helicopter also encircled the area above Mount Wegeuto, possibly making observations from the air about the presence of John Magai and Yogi who have both fled into the forests.

‘The sound of gunfire made the people even more panic-stricken and they fled their homes,’ said Yafeth Kayame.

A Papuan human rights activist, Yosias Yeimo, has called on both sides to stop the fighting ahead of Christmas. ‘Among the people of God Almighty, there should be no more fighting so that people can celebrate Christmas in peace,’ he said.

The people living in Eduda and several nearby kampungs cannot celebrate Christman in their homes like they were able to do last year. The Protestant and Catholic communities have been disrupted by military operations that have been going on for the past month.

The local police chief also spoke about the security situation because of the military operations.’ It isn’t true. The situation is conducive. The situation in Paniai is calm. Stop spreading issues that only create panic,’ Jannus Siregar told journalists two days ago.

‘ I call on the people to return to their daily activities because the situation here is quite normal and people can celebrate Christmas. We are not hunting for civilians, still less are we shooting anyone dead. We are just doing our duty which is to chase the OPM, and this has led to the capture of John and Salmon,’ he said.

Translated by TAPOL

Church leaders mediation efforts between TNI/Polri and TPN/OPM in Paniai

JUBI, 29 August 2011

The churches in Paniai are very concerned about the unsatisfactory situation that has continued in Paniai following an armed skirmish that took place on 17 August, and also about reports that additional troops have been sent to Paniai to search for two firearms that were reportedly seized from police headquarters in Komopa on 15 August. In view of this situation, the churches are trying to mediate between the TPN/OPM and the Indonesian army and police to reach a dignified agreement to solve these problems.

The Rev. Hana Tebay, S. Th.said in a meeting on Sunday, 28 August that they had made approaches to the TPN/OPM and the Eduda headquarters (?) two days previously and she also said that in the near future, church leaders would be meeting the chief of police in Paniai.

‘The church is neutral. In our view we are all children of God which is why we speak from the heart with both the TPN/OPM and the security forces, the army and the police, she said.

‘We hope and pray that our efforts will bear fruit because we very much regret the continuation of these unsatisfactory conditions. A solution can be found and we will do everything in our power to mediate between the two sides so as to safeguard security in Paniai,’ she said.

The co-ordinator of the KINGMI Church in Paniai, Rev. Gerard Gobai, S.Th. said that the churches will use their prophetic mission to put an end to the situation that has emerged among the people. This situation has led to the people abandoning their homes, their work, their animals and fleeing from their homes.  As a result, Sunday worship meetings were attended by far fewer people than usual.

‘We are hoping for a solution. The two sides must agree to engage in peaceful efforts. ‘

He also expressed the hope that the local government would not allow this situation to continue for this would mean the continuation of a state of uncertainty for the people who are now living in fear.According to the mass media, the situation in Paniai is safe, but the fact is that the people feel very afraid. The place for the people is there, and they should not be wanting to flee from Paniai.

‘How can the people feel calm if even the bupati (sub-district chief) has vanished from Paniai?’

He went on to say that as far as the church is concerned, everyone must strive to make Papua a Land of Peace.

‘There must be an end to disorder, to conflict, an end to the loss of life..The church therefore expects the government to make serious efforts together with the TNI/Polri and the TPN/OPM to think about joint efforts to end this situation, and in particular to secure the return of the two firearms.’

[This item and the previous item from JUBI were translated by TAPOL]

Churches speak out for peace and security in Paniai

JUBI, 29 August 2011

The desire for peace in the district of Paniai is a common aspiration, especially in the wake of the many conflicts that have occurred in the recent past.   Everyone should be aware of the need to work together to restore a sense of security so that people can continue with their day-to-day activities.

These were the words contained in a press release issued by the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Paniai Diocese and the Commission for Justice and Peace of the KIINGMI Church on 28 August.

The representative of the Diocese of Paniai, Fr Marko Okto Pekei, and Yafet Tetobi of the KINGMI Church said that they hoped that the leaders of the security forces would not deploy forces from outside Paniai.   Moreover, they hoped that the forces already in the area would not roam round freely in the area with all their military equipment because doing so would only worsen the situation. People who are now thinking about returning home to Enarotali, Madi and places close by will start feeling afraid of going back to their kampungs after
realising that the situation is not yet safe.

They also said that all sides should realise that the preservation of security and an atmosphere of peace is the duty of all, leaders of the communities, the security forces – TNI the army and Polri, the police – as well as the TPN/OPM, leaders of the community, religious leaders, leaders of customary groups and leaders of the women and the youth.

The two church commissions for peace and justice also deeply regretted the wounding of two people during an armed conflict that occurred on 17 August in Uwibutu, Madi.  ‘We also deeply regret the actions of certain elements who have destroyed the economies of families living in the area.’

They went on to say that any problems between the security forces and the TPN/OPM should be handled by means of persuasion, not by the use of repressive military measures because the latter would only result in casualties among civilians who are not in any way involved in these matters. Repressive measures, that is to say, violence or armed conflict, will only result in casualties. This means that all sides are responsible for preserving peace and security for the civilian population.

The church representatives said that they had felt called upon to speak out about the unsatisfactory conditions of the local people during the past three weeks. The various churches in Paniai have therefore been trying to mediate to find the best possible solution that accords with the wishes of the people so that they can live in safety and prevent the occurrence of casualties among the people.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: