Police investigate attempt to open separatist office in Papua

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - The Jayawijaya Resort Police officers are questioning three witnesses on the alleged attempt to open an office of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (UMLWP) in Wamena, Papua, on Tuesday.

Papua Regional Police Chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw stated here on Thursday that the three individuals were being questioned as witnesses related to an attempt to open the UMLWP office in Wamena.

The UMLWP is a forum of a group of separatists who are trying to secede from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). Therefore, the authorities have banned their existence and will seek clarification from the coordinators MH and EW over the alleged attempt to open the UMLWP office, Waterpauw stressed.

Waterpauw said he had received reports that no inauguration ceremony was held for the UMLWP office in Wamena on Tuesday, and only a nameplate was installed beside the office of the Papua Customary Council (DAP) in Wamena.

"Earlier, on Monday (Feb. 15), the new office of the DAP in Jalan Trikora Maplima, Wamena, Jayawijaya District, was inaugurated as its old office was razed by fires in 2014," Waterpauw remarked.

He said the event was used by the separatists to install a nameplate of the UMLWP office.

"There was no ceremonial event held in that case and was not attended by five thousand people contrary to what was disseminated through social media networks. After negotiations, the nameplate was finally removed and was confiscated by the Jayawijaya police in Wamena," the Papua Police chief explained.

In the meantime, President Joko Widodo, through his special staff for communication Johan Budi, denied rumors that the Free Papua Movement had opened a representative office in Wamena, Papua Province.

"I have confirmed it to the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs and have found that the rumors regarding the establishment of a representative office of the Free Papua Movement (reportedly with the support of several countries) are not true," Johan stated at the State Palace complex in Jakarta on Wednesday.

According to Johan, the office of the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs is now coordinating with the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) to implement a persuasive approach.

The presidential spokesman expressed hope that the rumors would not trigger chaos in Papua.

He affirmed that the government disagreed with the separatist movement opening a representative office on behalf of a certain group.

"What is sure is that no representative office of the Free Papua Movement has been opened. There is no such a thing," Johan clarified.

Earlier, rumors were circulating about the Free Papua Movement having opened its representative office in Wamena, Jayawijaya District, Papua.

The movement is supported by several countries in the Melanesian region and has established an office in Vanuatu.

Moreover, ten former members of the Free Papua Movement returned to embrace the NKRI and met Papua Regional Police Chief Brig. Gen. Rudolf A. Rojak who was accompanied by Puncak Jaya District head Hanock Ibo.

The government is now continuing to develop Papua to improve the local economy and welfare of the people. The development of the Sorong-Manokwari railway route is one of the initiatives being taken.(*)