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Indonesia ups the ante against OPM, affiliates with terror tag

Indonesia ups the ante against OPM, affiliates with terror tag

An armed criminal group torched houses in Beoga, Puncak district. Papua province (ANTARA/HO/third party

Five days after the fatal shooting of senior intelligence official Maj. Gen. I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, the Indonesian government has declared armed Papuan criminal groups, also called “KKB”, as "terrorists".

The decision was announced by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, at an online press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

In declaring the armed groups as “terrorists”, the government has referred to the provisions of Law Number 5 of 2018 on Amendments to Law Number 15 of 2003 on Stipulation of Government Regulations in Lieu of Law Number 1 of 2002 on the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Terrorism.

The law defines terrorists as people who plan, instigate, and organize terrorism, and terrorism as any act motivated by ideology, politics, or security that involves violence or threats of violence, creates a sense of terror or widespread fear, and causes mass casualties or damage or destruction to vital strategic objects, the environment, and public or international facilities.    

"Now, based on the definition stated in Law Number 5 of 2018, acts of the KKB and all the names of its organizations and people affiliated with it are related to terrorism," Mahfud announced.

The Indonesian government's decision, which takes cognizance of a string of violent attacks on unarmed and innocent civilians by KKB members in districts such as Puncak and Intan Jaya over the past few years, is justifiable.

Related news: Military, police should act firmly against armed criminal groups

Over the past few years, armed Papuan groups have often employed hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel and mounted acts of terror against civilians in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak to instill fear among the people.

The recent targets of such acts of terror have included construction workers, motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, teachers, students, street food vendors, and even civilian aircraft.

On December 2, 2018, a group of armed Papuan rebels brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya, who were engaged in the construction of the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi sub-district, Nduga district.

The same day, the armed attackers also killed a soldier, identified as Handoko, and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.

Such acts of violence have continued this year. On January 6, 2021, at least 10 armed separatist terrorists vandalized and torched a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) on the Pagamba village airstrip.

On February 8, 2021, a 32-year-old man was shot at close range in Bilogai village, Sugapa sub-district.

The victim, identified by his initials as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was taken to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika district on February 9.

In a separate incident on February 9, six armed Papuans fatally stabbed a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver.

Related news: Motorcycle taxi driver shot dead by unknown gunman in Papua

Then, on April 8, 2021, several armed Papuan rebels opened fire at a kiosk in Julukoma village, Beoga sub-district, Puncak district.

The shooting resulted in the death of a Beoga public elementary school teacher, identified as Oktovianus Rayo.

After killing Rayo, the armed attackers torched three classrooms at the Beoga public senior high school.

On April 9, 2021, armed separatists reportedly fatally shot another teacher, Yonatan Randen, on the chest.

Two days later, nine classrooms at the Beoga public junior high school were set ablaze by an armed group.

And barely four days later, Ali Mom, a student of the Ilaga public senior high school in Beoga sub-district, was brutally killed by armed attackers.

On April 25, 2021, Papuan separatists operating in Beoga ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) chief Nugraha and several security personnel while they were visiting Dambet village.

Following Nugraha's fatal shooting, President Joko Widodo has ordered the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and the National Police to hunt down and arrest all members of armed separatist and terrorist groups operating in Papua, saying there is no place for them within Indonesian territory.

Related news: President orders military, police to hunt down all armed Papuan groups

All separatist terrorist groups must be rooted out from the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua as they pose a serious security threat, deputy head of Commission III Overseeing Legal Affairs of the House of Representatives (DPR), Ahmad Sahroni, concurred.

However, while conducting law enforcement operations against the armed groups, security personnel must respect human rights, he added.

"The notorious armed Papuan separatist terrorists must be rooted out but, in crushing them, do not abuse human rights because human rights violations can damage Indonesia's reputation," Sahroni cautioned.

The TNI and National Police can conduct law enforcement operations against Papuan separatist terrorists anywhere in Papua and West Papua, but they must observe human rights rules, he reiterated.

Following Nugraha’s death on April 25, 2021, a joint team of army and police personnel from the Nemangkawi Task Force have intensified law enforcement operations against separatist terrorists in Puncak district.

On April 27, 2021, nine Papuan separatist terrorists were killed in a shootout near their Olenski hideout in Makki village, Ilaga Utara sub-district.

The existence of armed Papuan groups is recognized by the Free Papua Movement (OPM) as part of its National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB), an armed wing set up to fight against Indonesia for achieving its political goals.

The OPM-TPNPB has repeatedly claimed responsibility for deadly shootings of unarmed civilians and security personnel in different parts of Papua and West Papua provinces.

OPM-TPNPB spokesperson Sebby Sambon has claimed his organization was responsible for Nugraha’s killing, according to a CNN Indonesia report.

Sambom's claim has spurred the Indonesian government to brand the OPM-TPNPB and its affiliates as terrorists. (INE)

Related news: Armed criminal groups in Papua categorized as terrorists: Government

EDITED BY INE

 

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