Stop circle of violence in Papua

Stop circle of violence in Papua

An Indonesian military officer was injured after being shot by a member of armed criminal group in Papua (31/1/2019). (ANTARA FOTO/Jeremias Rahadat)

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - A circle of violence remains unstoppable in the Indonesian province of Papua. Last weekend, a civilian was again gunned down by the armed Papuan rebels in a village of Jaya Wijaya District.

This murder of Sugeng Efendi, a resident of Wuyukwi Village, Mulia Subdistrict, on Feb 2, 2019, has just extended the death toll of civilians in the hands of the armed Papuan rebels following the killings of 31 construction workers in December 2018.

The 25-year-old kiosk keeper was shot dead by an armed Papuan rebel on Saturday evening. Efendi`s murder occurred two days after the Free Papua Movement (OPM) announced its official support for its armed wing`s declaration of war against Indonesia.

According to Radio New Zealand (RNZ), the announcement was made by OPM Spokesman Jeffrey Bomanak in a press conference held in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea (PNG), on Jan 31, 2019.

RNZ quoted Bomanak as saying that the war against the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia "would not end until Jakarta agreed to meet for peaceful negotiations, for which the OPM is establishing a team of negotiators."

Actually, over the past year, the armed Papuan separatists had not only campaigned a series of killings of civilians and security personnel, but they were also involved in other serious crimes such as holding civilians and hostages and raping the victims.

In the case of 16 teachers and medical workers in Mapenduma Subdistrict, Nduga District, Papua Province, in October 2018, for instance, a military officer confirmed that the rebels who held them hostages had raped the victims (SINDOnews, 2018).

Again, in Nduga District, a group of armed Papuan rebels brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya, who were engaged in construction and building the Trans-Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-District, on Dec 2, 2018.

Among the victims were Jepry Simaremare and Alpianus M, both employees of PT Istaka Karya, as well as Agustinus T, Carly Zatrino, Muh. Agus, Fais Syahputra, Yousafat, Aris Usi, and Yusran, who were all workers of PT Istaka Karya.

The armed rebels, who launched the brutal killings, also killed a soldier named Handoko and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.

Considering the ongoing crimes of the armed rebels, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Martuani Sormin had warned in early January 2019 that they would likely remain a serious security threat in certain areas of the province`s central mountain range.

The police have attempted to approach the armed groups to end the circle of violence, but the effort is yet to yield success, he remarked while responding to local journalists` questions on this year`s security situation in Papua Province.

However, owing to the presence of army and police personnel in the areas of the central mountain range that might potentially be threatened by what the police call "armed criminal groups," or "KKB," the frequency of security disturbances can be reduced.

Sormin remarked that those responsible for administering the areas are the governor and heads of districts, and the armed forces and police personnel could not conduct their duties without their support.

Hence, in dealing with these security threats, he proposed that the "Regional Leadership Communication Forum," or "Forkopimda," be activated, so that necessary solutions can be sought together to all problems occurring in the regions.

For those posing security threats and disturbances, the police will enforce the law against them, he noted, adding that the perpetrators would eventually be caught.

In the case of Efendi`s killing, the Indonesian police in Puncak Jaya District continued probing into the murder case.

"The investigation into this murder case is still underway," Chief of the Puncak Jaya Police Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agustinus Ary Purwanto revealed, adding that the police investigators attempted to disclose the case by questioning witnesses.

Following the shooting incident, Commander of the Puncak Jaya Regional Military Command Lt. Col. Agus Sunaryo stated that the situation around Mulia Subdistrict areas remained conducive, and local residents did their routine activities without fear.

Tens of civilians in Papua Province have been killed by the armed rebels. A lot more have also been terrorized by them over the past year. This is indeed a serious security threat that needs a comprehensive solution.

The circle of violence must be stopped but the solution that the Indonesian Government needs to take is not just limited to security approach. Instead, it should necessarily be combined with prosperity approach to ensure the presence of peace, justice, and prosperity for all in Papua Province.