West Papua: TNI urges refugees to return home

West Papua: TNI urges refugees to return home

A joint team of personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI) has posted and distributed pamphlets urging refugees to return home and asking local residents to stay calm in West Papua. (ANTARA/Hans Arnold Kapisa)

The TNI fully guarantees public security so locals are urged to resume their daily activities in their villages
Manokwari, W Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesian soldiers are using the indigenous language of the Aifat ethnic group to persuade locals who are currently taking refuge over security concerns to return home, a spokesperson for the XVIII/Kasuari Regional Military Command said.

A joint team of personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI) has posted and distributed pamphlets urging refugees to return home and asking local residents to stay calm, Colonel Hendra Pesireron informed in a statement that ANTARA received here on Friday.

"The TNI fully guarantees public security so locals are urged to resume their daily activities in their villages. We are speaking to them in their own language," he said.

Early last Thursday (September 2, 2021), members of an unidentified terrorist group had ambushed several soldiers while they were sleeping at the Kisor military post of South Aifat sub-district, West Papua province.

Four soldiers—2nd Sergeant Amrosius, Chief Private Dirham, First Private Zul Ansari, and First Lieutenant Dirman—had died in the attack, while two others had sustained serious injuries.

The bodies of three soldiers had been found at the post, while the body of another soldier had been discovered in the bushes not far from the post.

Owing to the incident, several local residents had fled their homes over security concerns.

According to Pesireron, TNI personnel are responsible for maintaining the state's sovereignty and protecting locals from the threat posed by Papuan separatist terrorists.

The group that launched the ambush and killed the soldiers is affiliated with the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) operating in South Aifat sub-district, Maybrat district, he said.

"The KNPB had once existed in the Aifat neighborhood areas and propagated a seed of anti-regional development but the KNPB has no longer been there since the presence of TNI and police personnel," he added.

Referring to the September 2 attack, West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan had earlier appealed to residents of Kisor village to help security personnel capture the killers of the four soldiers.

Mandacan, who visited the scene of the shooting on September 4, 2021, also asked Kisor villagers who had fled to the forest to return home and resume their normal lives.

"The villagers do not need to panic or take refuge in the forest because the government works with the military and police to ensure public safety and security," he said.

The assault on the Kisor military post in West Papua has added to the list of cases of armed violence in Papua and highlighted the grave danger posed by Papuan separatist terrorists.

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