If this can be done in Congo, why not Papua?
Jakarta (ANTARA) - A top commanding officer of the Indonesian Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) disclosed that no additional soldiers were reinforced in Papua Province following the recent killings of eight workers.

"Until now, there is no reinforcement of additional soldiers in Papua," Kopassus Commanding Officer Major General Widi Prasetijono told journalists at the special forces' headquarters in Cijantung on Thursday.

Besides that, Kopassus is awaiting directives of the Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander General Andika Perkasa, he noted.

Currently, Kopassus soldiers are involved in a military operational control aid (BKO) by concentrating on activities of TNI's territorial development-based approaches in Papua, he stated.

Related news: Govt must investigate shooting of PTT workers: Soesatyo

"The activities are concentrated on those related to the TNI's territorial development program, so that all operations in Papua are conducted by the Cenderawasih and Kasuari Military Regional Commands," he remarked.

Papua has borne witness to a repeated cycle of violence over the past few years, with armed groups in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak targeting civilians and security personnel.

Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September 2020 when armed groups launched a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and left two others injured.

Related news: Papua: MP seeks sanctions against separatists for shooting PTT workers

The acts of terror continue this year.

On March 2, 2022, several members of an armed Pauan group operating in Beoga Sub-district, Puncak District, killed Palaparing Timur Telematika's (PTT's) eight workers, who were engaged in repair work on a base transceiver station (BTS) tower of state-owned telecommunications operator Telkomsel.

The workers slain in the attack were identified as B, R, BN, BT, J, E, S, and PD, while another worker, only identified by his initials as NS, survived the deadly assault, according to Papua Police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Ahmad Kamal.

The case of murder of PTT workers is not the first tragedy to have struck this eastern Indonesian province.

Related news: Papua violence: Bodies of 8 workers taken to Mimika hospital

On December 2, 2018, a group of armed Papuan rebels had brutally killed PT Istaka Karya's 31 workers, who were engaged in construction and building the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-District, Nduga District, Papua Province.

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

Speaking in connection with ways to end the ongoing cycle of armed violence in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, TNI Commander General Andika Perkasa has pledged to emphasize "social communication" to deal with Papuan groups that continue to threaten the lives of civilians and security personnel there.

Related news: Papua violence: Bodies of 8 workers taken to Mimika hospital

On the sidelines of his working visit to Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on December 1, 2021, Perkasa emphasized that the social communication-based approach had been adopted as an endeavor to avoid falling victim to the conflict.

General Perkasa said he would let members of the international community assess the law enforcement mechanism against Papuan separatist terrorists committing crimes against humanity.

In Congo, a country located on the western coast of Central Africa, Indonesian soldiers involved in the UN peacekeeping mission handle militias without bloodshed, he pointed out.

"If this can be done in Congo, why not Papua?" he questioned while highlighting the importance of professional soldiers, who are highly committed to humanitarian values.

Related news: Armed Papuan separatist terrorists again assault workers in Papua

Related news: Slain workers' remains to be buried in respective hometowns

Translator: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2022