West Papua : Indonesian Government Deploys Hundreds of Troops with Road Building Pretext
The situation in West Papua is increasingly drastic as Indonesia ramps up the military pressure in the region. An example of this can be found in the sudden deployment of 600 soldiers to safeguard a new development program commissioned without the consent of the local populations. West Papua contends that its independence was declared in 1971, but more importantly that the peoples of Papua are threatened by the Indonesian government's careless approach to resource extraction in the region. This latest episode is just the latest example of such a policy.
Article below posted by Radio NZ
The security build-up around the project, which was promised in January, threatens to deepen escalating violence in the Highlands regions.
The Antara state news agency reported that the soldiers, which include 150 combat engineers, will be supervising work on the 4,600-kilometre Trans-Papua Highway.
In December, at least 17 Indonesian construction workers working on the project were massacred by the West Papua Liberation Army.
Before their deployment, the Chief of the Hasanuddin Regional Military Command XIV, Major General Surawahadi, addressed the soldiers in the city of Makassar.
"You have heavy tasks and responsibilities to safeguard the construction of the Trans Papua road, including dealing with security disturbance from the armed separatist group," he said.