Kumurkek, SW Papua, (ANTARA) - Some 29 former members of the separatist group Free Papua Movement (OPM) operating in Southwest Papua have sworn allegiance to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, a military officer stated.

The swearing-in ceremony of the ex-rebels was held on Monday (May 13) by the 133/YS Infantry Battalion Task Force at its military post in Aimasa Village, Aifat Timur Tengah Sub-district, Maybrat District, Southwest Papua.

The task force's commander, Lt Col Andhika Ganesakti, stated that the ex-rebels' journey to return to embrace the Motherland actually began when the task force's personnel found a document in an empty house during a routine patrol in Aitrem Village, Aifat Timur Sub-district, Maybrat District.

The document contained a list of the names of people involved in the OPM structure for the Sorong Raya region. Based on this evidence, the task force personnel urged them to come to the military post, he remarked.

They were then questioned. Most of them told task force officers that they were forced to join the separatist movement in the Sorong Raya region, as rebel leaders often intimidated them, he added.

With passage of time, realization dawned on them that they had followed a wrong path in life by fighting against Indonesia's territorial integrity after they often saw the OPM members commit "acts of human cruelty" in the community, he stated.

By coordinating with the 133/YS Infantry Battalion Task Force, several local community leaders helped them strengthen their self-awareness to enable them to end OPM's influence and reunite with the community.

To prove their sincerity and loyalty to the Motherland, the ex-rebels requested the task force for holding a special occasion to enable them to declare allegiance to Indonesia, he remarked.

The case of 29 ex-rebels from Aitrem Village has extended the list of former separatists who have declared allegiance to Indonesia.

On Wednesday, April 24, 2024, a rebel who fought against Indonesia's sovereignty along with the Goliath Tabuni-led armed group had also surrendered to an army post in Kisor Village, Maybrat District, Southwest Papua.

Setam Same declared allegiance to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, Joint Defense Regional Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesman Colonel Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa stated.

Same was ill while surrendering to the army post, and a team of army medical personnel assisted him, Suriastawa noted in a recent press statement.

Following his surrender, the army handed him over to the local police, as he had been on the police's most wanted list in connection with his alleged involvement in a deadly attack on the Kisor military post in 2021.

The assault carried out by 50 members of the Goliath Tabuni-armed group led to the deaths of four soldiers, Suriastawa remarked.

Over the past few years, armed Papuan groups have time and again 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 targets of such acts of terror have included construction workers, motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, teachers, students, street food vendors, and also civilian aircraft.

Related news: Rebel in SW Papua's Maybrat surrenders to Indonesian army: Spokesman

Related news: Villagers from Papua's Bingki seek refuge following armed attack

Translator: Paulus P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
Copyright © ANTARA 2024