Jubi News in Jayapura
Indonesia’s Papua police chief Inspector-General Mathius D Fakhiri has called for action to ensure that “security disturbances” in the Puncak Jaya highlands do not widen in the face of escalating attacks by pro-independence militants.
“For Puncak, we will take immediate action,” he said.
According to General Fakhiri, attacks by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) had happened repeatedly since early 2023.
A number of attacks had caused casualties with soldiers, police, and civilians.
General Fakhiri urged civilians not to travel to places far from the observation of security forces, both the police and the Indonesian Military (TNI).
“I have also called on TPNPB members to immediately cooperate with all stakeholders, while providing security guarantees so that security disturbances do not recur,” General Fakhiri said.
He cited these “disturbances” in Puncak Regency:
- On January 23, 2023, an armed group shot dead a motorcycle taxi driver on the Ilame Bridge, Wako Village, Gome District.
- On January 24, 2023, armed groups attacked a member of the Indonesian military (TNI) at Sinak Market, Sinak District.
- On February 18, 2023, armed groups burned down a house and engaged in a shootout with security forces in Ilaga.
- On March 3, 2023, armed groups attacked a TNI post and shot dead one TIN soldier and a civilian in Pamebut Village, Yugu Muak District. However, TPNPB claimed that the civilian was shot by security forces.
- On March 22, 2023, armed groups shot dead a motorcycle taxi driver at the Kimak road junction, Ilaga District.
General Fakhiri also reminded his forces not to respond excessively to the burning of houses and the Gome District Office, Puncak Regency, Central Papua Province last Tuesday.
Arson ‘a strategy’
According to him, such arson was a strategy of the militants to provoke the security forces into pursuing them
“I ask the officers in the field not to respond excessively. Because usually the motive for the West Papua National Liberation Army armed group to burn is hoping that the officers will respond and then be shot at,” General Fakhiri said.
“I have reminded every rank, if there is an incident in the afternoon or evening do not respond immediately. Wait for the afternoon, then respond and carry out crime scene processing,” he said.
General Fakhiri said that the series of incidents in several vulnerable areas was motivated by an attempt to show the existence of each armed group.
He considered that the various attacks were uncoordinated.
“That’s why I hope the authorities in the field can scrutinise them well. Except for the incidents in Nduga and Lanny Jaya, of course it is of more concern, because it can interfere with the efforts of the authorities to rescue the Susi Air pilot who is currently still being held hostage by the Egianus Kogoya group,” he said.
New Zealand hostage pilot Phillip Merhtens was captured by a TPNPB group on February 7 and has remained a captive since.
Meanwhile, the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) has claimed that Indonesian authorities have arrested 32 Papuans taking part in fund-raising for the Vanuatu tropical cyclones.
Republished from Tabloid Jubi with permission.