West Papua: Report Shows Indonesian Military Treats PNG as its Own Territory
“For too long the security and human rights issues present along the border of the Papua Niugini and West Papua have been ignored at the strategic peril of countries in the region,” said Nick Chesterfield, the compiler of the report, and International Officer with the Free West Papua Campaign.
“In abandoning those who fought so hard for our freedom in World War 2, we have missed out on a genuine opportunity to stop displacement of our neighbours, and to genuinely combat terrorism on our doorstep,”explained Chesterfield.
Currently a massive troop buildup is occurring on the border by the Indonesian military, who have so far managed to resist genuine civilian control within Indonesia. After the defensive killings of five security personnel and agents provocateur in the demonstrations of March 15/16, the Indonesian military and Police have conducted widespread reprisals against students and the family members of all university students in West Papua.
Chesterfield continued: “The TNI's network of terror has now spread deep within Papua Niugini and has made its presence felt within isolated communities along the border, who are living in fear of an imminent invasion. We uncovered evidence that a massive ground offensive is in the final stages of planning, and there are questions that need to answered publicly by many people in the region to prevent this from happening.”
In recent weeks, several incidents have occurred on the border which have exacerbated the tension felt by local communities. This includes the shootings by PNGDF of fisherman suspected to be undercover TNI, in circumstances that are still unclear, amid claims of a PNG Government ordered cover-up. There have also been widespread allegations of illegal crossings by Kostrad and Kopassus personnel.
“Before PNG was independent, the Indonesian military government already had a long standing plan to annexe PNG. The TNI have gradually come to control the economy of PNG with the help of corrupt figures in the PNG government,” said Jacob Rumbiak, Foreign Affairs Co-ordinator with the West Papua National Authority
According to Rumbiak, the TNI “are using the pretext of the demonstrations on March 16 to hunt to their deaths students throughout the border region, terrorizing local people. This is being done to prevent West Papuan people speaking out about military abuses and the genuine aspirations for their self-determination.”
“Now these latest incidents on the border are showing that PNG people also are waking up to the TNI's plans to destroy the territorial integrity and dignity of PNG.”
Central to this is the appointment of Major General Zamroni of Kopassus as the new military commander of West Papua. When contacted by the Free West Papua Campaign today, Dr Clinton Fernandes, author of Reluctant Indonesians: the future of West Papua and senior lecturer in strategic studies at UNSW, said "Major General Zamroni's appointment shows the Indonesian military's thorough disregard for the wishes of the civilian administration.”
“Zamroni was once deputy commander of Kopassus under the murderous Lieutenant-General Prabowo. Extra-judicial murder and other forms of state terror were and remain a specialty of this organisation. Australians should keep this in mind when they hear their government's preference for closer links with the Indonesian military," explained Fernandes.
Photographic and witness evidence was also found that shows clearly that Timbul Silaen, the infamous and indicted former police commander of West Papua (and the police chief during the carnage of 1999 in East Timor), is present in West Papua and overseeing militia activity.
“Questions need to be asked about what these people are doing in West Papua at the time where there of a militia build-up, and a renewed presence across West Papua of the very “rogue elements” that have such a brutal history,” said Chesterfield
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For a copy of a summary of briefing points, visit: