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Govt leans on development agenda to push Papua autonomy

Govt leans on development agenda to push Papua autonomy

Chief of District Command 172/PWY Colonel Inf Boni C. Pardede (left) accompanied by his wife harvested red chili on farm land owned by Senggi resident receiving assistance from the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border security task force of the Raider Infantry Battalion 700/WYC, Papua. ( ANTARA FOTO/Indrayadi TH/Dok)

Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) is striving to finish the renewal of the Papua Special Autonomy Law No.21/2001 before it expires in November this year.

The law, which has been in force for almost 20 years, has paved the way for a significant amount of funds to flow into Papua and West Papua, with the central government earmarking Rp94.24 trillion (CNN Indonesia, 2020) for the region from 2002 to 2020.

The government has hinted that it intends to extend the allocation of the special autonomy funds by another 20 years to expedite efforts to close the development gap and bring prosperity to all communities in the region.

Even as deliberations continue on the bill for amending the Papua Special Autonomy Law No.21/2001, which has become a top priority under the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas), Papua remains trapped in the throes of violence.

Related news: Second phase of special autonomy to make Papua prosperous: Moeldoko

Over the last few years, Papuan separatist terrorists have used hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel and targeted civilians in districts such as Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak to stoke fear among the people.

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

On December 2, 2018, Papuan rebels brutally killed 31 PT Istaka Karya workers 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.

Similar 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 the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) on the Pagamba village airstrip.

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

The victim, identified by his initials as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was shifted to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika District the next day.

On February 9, six armed Papuans fatally stabbed a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver.

On April 8, several Papuan rebels opened fire at a kiosk in Julukoma village, Beoga sub-district, Puncak district, killing a Beoga public elementary school teacher, identified as Oktovianus Rayo.

Afterwards, the armed attackers torched three classrooms at the Beoga public senior high school.

On April 9, armed separatists 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, Papuan separatists operating in Beoga ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) chief, Maj. Gen. I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, and several security personnel during their visit to Dambet village.

Last week, three residents of Niporolome village in Ilaga, Puncak district, Papua province, died and three others were injured in a gunfight between security personnel and armed Papuan rebels at the Aminggaru Airport in Ilaga.

The gunfight broke out on the evening of June 3 after the rebels reportedly torched several facilities at the airport, including the air traffic control tower, a broken aircraft, an excavator, and homes of airport employees.

The slain civilians were identified as Patianus Kogoya, head of Niporolome village; Petena Murib, Patianus Kogoya's wife; and, Nelius Kogoya, Papua Police chief, Insp. Gen. Mathius Fakhiri, informed.

Police investigators had received reports that they died of gunshot wounds, but the investigation into their deaths could not be completed as their mourning families took their bodies for burial, he said.

Meanwhile, the three civilians wounded in the gunfight were identified as Mandis Murib, Lesminus Murib, and Jelemina Wanimbo. They received medical treatment at a local public health center, Fakhiri said.

In response to the continued acts of terror unleashed by Papuan separatist terrorist groups, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has directed the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police to track down and arrest all of their members in Papua.

He has stressed that there is no place for them within Indonesian territory.

People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo has further underlined that the state must not allow them to continue to terrorize Papuan communities.

The government must ensure that Papuans' rights to enjoy the outcomes of development programs are not disrupted and hijacked by continued acts of terror, he said.

While the government's priority is to seek peaceful solutions to the Papuan issue, it will continue to crack down on armed Papuan terrorist groups, Indonesia's top security minister, Mahfud MD, has said.

Law enforcement operations have continued against armed terrorists to stop their acts of violence against 92 percent of the Papuan communities, which are loyal to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), he added.
Related news: Some 82 percent Papuans favor special autonomy status: Mahfud

"Some 92 percent of the Papuan communities are NKRI's loyalists, based on the outcome of a survey," the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs claimed in a recent press statement.

The recent survey, jointly conducted by the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) along with universities and several other credible institutions, has revealed that 82 percent of the respondents openly support Indonesia's special autonomy draft bill, Mahfud said.

Furthermore, 10 percent of the respondents have said they will accept whatever is decided for Papua's greater good, while 8 percent have directly rejected the continuation of Papua's special autonomy, the minister revealed.

Those rejecting the continuation of Papua's special autonomy can be divided into three groups -- the political, clandestine, and armed wings, he said.

"What we are now facing are members of the armed group that have disrupted the security of 92 percent of Papuan communities (that are loyal to NKRI)," he remarked.

Meanwhile, BIN deputy chief Teddy Lhaksmana Widya has hinted that the security disturbances in Papua may have been created intentionally to cover up the embezzlement of special autonomy funds.

He then highlighted the dire need for action against embezzlers to secure Papua and West Papua's regional development agenda in four strategic sectors -- infrastructure, health, education, and people-based economy.

Besides bringing the embezzlers to justice, peace and stability also need to be restored to allow the government's development programs to be well implemented, he said. In this context, the presence of TNI and police personnel is a necessity, he told a plenary session with House members on June 3. (INE)

Related news: Prosperity eludes all despite 20 years of special autonomy: community
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