‘Don’t trust Indonesian military,’ says OPM warning civilians to leave conflict

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Indonesian soldiers on patrol in West Papua
Indonesian soldiers on patrol in West Papua. Undated. Image: Sindo News

IndoLeft News

The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) has warned the Papuan people not to trust that the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian police) can provide them with security guarantees in the region.

OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom said that they had “sounded the drums of war” against the security forces so civilian population that were still in certain areas could avoid becoming casualties, reports CNN Indonesia.

“You [the civilian population] shouldn’t listen to the orders by the TNI-Polri saying, ‘We guarantee [the safety of] the civilian population’– there’s no such guarantee, the TNI-Polri are deceiving you,” said Sambom in a video release received by journalists.

Sambom is appealing civilian populations from all groups to leave regions which the OPM had designated as “war zones”. He said that there were several such conflict areas. including Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Ndugama, the Bintang Highlands and Yahukimo.

Sambom said that the OPM — which has been labeled as a “terrorist” organisation by Jakarta — would not be responsible for civilians that died.

“If you’re a construction worker, a motorcycle taxi driver, all of you [must] leave the conflict areas. Because we cannot be responsible for your lives, we have warned you,” he said.

“But you listen to the TNI-Polri which deceives you by saying we guarantee [your safety], they are deceiving you,” Sambom said.

OPM call criticised
Joint Defence Area Command III (Kogabwilhan III) spokesperson Colonel Czi Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa responded by claiming that the OPM’s call was “a deception” which had been endlessly repeated by the group.

He said that there were no regions in Papua which are war zones. According to Suriastawa, every incident which had occurred was due to the OPM “terrorist movement”.

Moreover, he claimed that the OPM was becoming increasingly isolated.

“Let them (the OPM) say what they want. Up until now, there are no conflict areas that are war zones, what there is the OPM terrorist movement which is increasingly being squeezed because their capacity to move [is limited because] they are constantly being pursued by TNI-Polri personnel”, Suriastawa told CNN Indonesia.

He said that the Papuan people were increasingly showing their opposition to armed pro-independence groups which the government had now designated as terrorists.

According to Suriastawa, the public was no longer influenced by the “propaganda” of the OPM which he alleged was acting outside the law and even killed Papuan people themselves.

“This shows just how angry the ordinary people are at seeing the brutality and arbitrary actions of the OPM,” he claimed.

Workers fired on
Earlier, an armed group is alleged to have fired on five construction workers working on the Kuk River Bridge in Samboga village, Seradala district, Yahukimo regency, last Thuraday.

Four of the five have been declared dead while the surviving victim is being treated for injuries sustained from broken glass.

During the incident, an armed group numbering about 30 militants fired on a convoy of trucks carrying workers. They were attacked with a variety of weapons including knives, arrows, machetes, samurai swards and rifles.

Based on witness testimonies gathered by police, four other workers were being held hostage by the armed group at an unknown location.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “OPM Tuding Aparat Abaikan Warga, TNI Sebut Gertakan Teroris”.

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