Indonesian official admits new Papua provinces are to ‘counter OPM, exploit natural resources’

MRP Chair Timotius Murib
MRP Chair Timotius Murib ... Indonesia "wants to build more police stations, military posts in the near future." Image: MRP Papua

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

The Papua People’s Council (MRP) says that a Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam) deputy has told them that the creation of new autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua is to narrow the space for the West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Movement (TNPB-OPM) to move.

MRP Chair Timotius Murib said that the Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD also made the statement during a meeting between the Kemenko Polhukam and the MRP.

Murib said that during the meeting, the MPR had received a great deal of input from the Kemenko Polhukam.

“One of the deputies told the MRP that the MPR should know that the DOB is an activity by the state to narrow the space for the TNPB-OPM or KKBs [armed criminal groups] to move,” said Murib during a virtual press conference on June 30.

Murib said the deputy also said that the government would build large numbers of regional police (Polda) headquarters and regional military commands (Kodam),

Because of this, the MRP believed that the creation of new autonomous regions in Papua was aimed at bringing more military into Papua and encircling the TPNPB.

According to Murib, the government was not prioritising the interests of ordinary people but rather the desire to exploit natural resources in Papua.

“And they want to build [more] Polda, Kodam, in the near future,” said Murib.

Murib revealed that there were many people who had heard the statement by the deputy.

The MRP believes that it is no longer a secret that the government is pursuing natural resources in Papua and ignoring the interests of local people.

According to Murib, the government also wants to exploit natural resources without being disturbed by other parties by bringing in large numbers of military personnel.

“But brought in so that when natural resources [are managed] in Papua no one disrupts this. Because the country’s debt is indeed very big at the moment,” the deputies said.

Earlier on June 30, the House of Representatives (DPR) enacted three laws on the establishment of new provinces in Papua — Central Papua, the Papua Highlands and South Papua.

The original text of the second paragraph in which Murib said that Minister Mahfud MD made the statement, rather than the unnamed deputy, read: “Ketua Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP), Timotius Murib mengatakan, bawahan Menko Polhukam, Mahfud MD menyampaikan pernyataan itu dalam salah satu pertemuan Kemenko Polhukam dengan MRP”.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was Majelis Rakyat Papua: Bawahan Mahfud Sebut DOB Papua Tuk Persempit OPM.

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