Tag Archives: War

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.