Indonesia military and Free Papuan Rebel Fires in Nduga Papua - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – President Joko Widodo spoke out of the deaths of three members of the army due to the shooting by an armed civilian group in Nduga, Papua, last Thursday. Widodo ordered the army and police to resolve the issue of armed civilian groups in Papua.

On Saturday, March 9 Indonesia National Armed Forces sent 600 additional personnel to Nduga Regency, Papua. Spokemans of the Army Muhammad Aidi said the additional personnel will be spread in Nduga area to continue and secure the infrastructure projects in Papua.

Besides, Aidi said that his personnel would also be tasked to secure villages allegedly become the bases of the armed group. He hopes the measure will cut the sources and lines of the armed group’s logistic.

Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko assreted that the operation status of the Army in Nduga, Papua must be raised following the killing of three soldiers. “I have said that we need to evaluate the title of an armed criminal group. The question is, are they really a criminal group?” said Moeldoko in Jakarta.

“If I say that they are a separatist group, then so be it. So the operation status can be raised,” he added.

Moeldoko said if the group is considered as a criminal group, militers will always be their prey. The Army recognized their strength, but they could not react as it was the police’s authority.

He admitted that increasing the military operation status in Nduga, Papua was beset by several issues, including foreign politics, that required further discussion with a number of related ministries to prevent army officers become victims.

Three members of the army were allegedly attacked by a group led by Egianus Kogoya when the victim was escorting the Trans Papua infrastructure project Wamena Mumugu while being attacked by armed criminal groups. In the armed contact, nine armed group members were killed and five firearms were secured.

Reportedly, more than 20 cases have occurred since 2014 to November 2018. Throughout 2017, armed violence has killed three Indonesian officers and two people from armed groups. In that year, there were nine cases recorded by media coverage.

The following year, the number of victims swelled. Four civilian victims and three Indonesian officers were recorded. The casualties emerged from seven cases that occurred until November 2018. The data did not include an incident in Nduga that happened to Trans Papua development workers. During 2014 to November 2018, at least 15 civilians and 14 Indonesian officials were killed in various incidents of armed violence.

Aliansi Demokrasi for Papua (AIDP) requires the government to immediately resolve this issue through an investigation so that conflict resolution can be intact. Chairperson of AIDP, Latifah Anum, explained that the condition of the community in Nduga had started to get hot after the election of the Governor in 2018. The conflict that has not yet reached clarity has caused a number of other events.

“The incident in Nduga also triggered armed events in several other areas,” Anum said. After the incident, said Anum, many people fled, or went to the mountains. The refugees are also difficult to get access to humanitarian assistance. “The important thing is investigation. Now there are so many refugees. There is no humanitarian assistance, “he said.

If there is no complete resolution and delivery of information, according to Anum, what happens is just banging each other’s words without clear arguments or data. Executive Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Philip Vermonte conveyed the same thing. Philip stressed the importance of full investigation to resolve problems in Papua.

“There are issues that can be resolved actually, but chosen not to be resolved, causing a pile of problems,” Philip said in Jakarta on Thursday (03/7). Philip considered that there were indeed many Papuan problems that needed to be resolved, starting from historical rectification, a number of human rights violations that were still ongoing, until the latter was the case in Nduga, which killed dozens of Trans Papua workers.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com