News Focus

Papua terror campaigns hobble development efforts

Papua terror campaigns hobble development efforts

Some health workers were evacuated from Pegunungan Bintang District aboard an Army helicopter on September 17, 2021, following the attack of an armed criminal group in Kiwirok. ANTARA PHOTO/Indrayadi TH/hp

The Indonesian government has been making dedicated efforts to accelerate regional development in Papua and West Papua to bring about fundamental changes that can enable them to catch up with other provinces in the country.

To allow the government to boost development in the two easternmost provinces, the House of Representatives (DPR) ratified a bill amending the Papua Special Autonomy Law No.21 of 2001 on July 15, 2021.

House Speaker Puan Maharani highlighted the importance of the newly-enacted bill, saying it was long-awaited by native Papuan communities of Papua and West Papua.

In response to the enactment of the bill, West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan said the passing of the revised Papua special autonomy law by the House in July was a milestone for sustainable development.

It would help boost the prosperity of all indigenous Papuans in Papua and West Papua Provinces, he said.

However, while the government has been making efforts towards achieving sustainable development in Papua and West Papua, Papuan separatist terrorists have been disrupting such development through terror campaigns.

On December 2, 2018, for instance, a group of Papuan terrorists brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya, who were working on the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi sub-district, Nduga district, Papua province.

The Papuan terrorists' campaigns of terror continued this year. On April 8-9, 2021, Papuan separatist terrorists shot dead two teachers and set junior and senior high school buildings ablaze in Beoga sub-district, Puncak district.

On August 22, 2021, a terrorist group attacked several construction workers of PT Indo Mulia Baru, who were responsible for erecting a bridge on Brazza River in Yahukimo district.

Two workers, identified as Rionaldo Ratu Roma and Dedi Imam Pamungkas, died in the attack, according to director of Papua Police's Criminal Investigation Unit, Sen.Coms.Faisal Rahmadani.

The attackers also set their bodies and their pick-up truck on fire, he informed.

Members of the terrorist group also attacked several personnel from the Indonesian Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) unit when they went to the site of the shooting to evacuate the deceased workers' bodies, he said.

Four Brimob personnel sustained minor injuries, he said, adding that several construction workers were evacuated to Dekai, the capital of Yahukimo district, for safety reasons.

Members of the Tenius Gwijangge-led terrorist group may have used six firearms, including two 5.56 millimeter caliber SS1-V1 rifles, to carry out the attack, Rahmadani said.

Officials believe the Papuan terrorist groups may have obtained firearms and ammunition for launching their campaigns of terror through illegal arms trades.

According to the Papua police, last year, a civil servant at the Intan Jaya district administration was detained for his alleged involvement in illegal arms trade with Papuan terrorist groups.

Identified by his initials as MS, the suspect was detained for investigation after he was handed over by his family to the police on November 13, 2020.

MS had evaded capture by several Nabire district police officers in Samoba Bawah village on November 6, 2020. At the time, he had stowed four illegal guns and ammunition aboard a motorboat from Biak, officials said.

In a separate development on September 22, 2021, personnel from the Nemangkawi Task Force raided a house in the Ambruk complex area of Yahukimo district that was suspected to be a weapons storage facility for Papuan separatist terrorists.

The raid was launched after the task force received a tip from local residents about a truck, owned by the Yahukimo district government, carrying several people and cargo, a police officer revealed.

Acting on the tip, task force personnel were deployed to the place where the vehicle was sighted, deputy chief of the Operation Nemangkawi Task Force, Sen. Coms. Muhammad Firman, stated.

The security personnel found several people and cargo inside the cabin of the truck, which was being driven by a civil servant, identified by his initials as ES, Firman informed in a statement.

ES and the people found inside the truck's cabin were taken to the Yahukimo district police precinct for questioning, he said.

Based on the suspects' confession, security personnel raided the house in the Ambruk complex area, where they found 28 pieces of evidence, including ammunition, sharp weapons, and a radio rig, he added.

Among the items stored in the house, the personnel found a pair of military uniforms belonging to the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), he revealed, adding that ES had also concealed ammunition and a 5.56 magazine.

Related news: Security officers exchange fire with Papua terror group; no casualties
Related news: Healthcare workers in Papua must be respected, protected

On August 27, 2021, the Nemangkawi Task Force had arrested EB, the sub-district head, along with 15 members of the KNPB and separatist terrorist groups operating in Yahukimo.

Of the 15 detainees, five were involved in several acts of terror and murders in the district, officials said. The victims of their crimes included police and military personnel as well as civilians, they added.

The arrests of several civil servants in Papua province have sparked public concerns.

A senior legislator on Thursday claimed that several top officials in the Papua provincial and regional governments may be funding Papuan separatist terrorist groups to support their fight against Indonesia.

The officials support the terrorist groups by giving them firearms, money, and military trainers, alleged Dave Akbarshah Fikarno Laksono, member of Commission I of the House of Representatives (DPR).

He said his allegations against the officials were based on "reliable reports" received by the House's Commission I Overseeing Defense and Foreign Affairs.

Speaking at a webinar entitled 'Winding Road for Crushing Armed Papuan Separatist Terrorists', Laksono said the officials must be brought to justice if their involvement is proven.

"It is our security agencies' task to uncover who has played the (terror-funding) game. They must uncover who they are and what positions they have," he added.

To this end, he appealed to the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), National Police, and Indonesian Military (TNI) to continue monitoring and collecting reliable data and evidence against the officials concerned.

If BIN, the National Police, and TNI obtain reliable data and evidence of their crimes, they must be brought to justice, he said.

Laksono also urged BIN, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), and Financial Services Authority (OJK) to trace the flow of funding to Papuan terrorist groups.

Related news: Missing health worker yet to be traced: Papua police chief
Related news: Papua: IDI condemns terror attack on health workers