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#57705 - 01 Aug 07 09:42 Militias in Papua
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
This is from the South China Morning Post on Monday July 30. Without any accountability to the press or rights groups (they're all banned from entering Papua), the RI "security forces" are stepping up their abuse and look to be planning attacks by proxy using these thug gangs.


Activists attack moves to crush Papua separatism

Fabio Scarpello

Human rights activists in the Papua province of Indonesia fear that the region’s new military commander is rallying pro-Jakarta militias amid talk of a crackdown on separatist activities. The Reverend Socratez SofyanYoman, who leads a fellowship of West Papuan Baptist churches, accused Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian of strengthening pro-Jakarta militias in Papua. The region has been campaigning peacefully for independence since it was controversially annexed by Jakarta under a UN-sponsored referendum in 1969. Colonel Siagian was twice indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor but has never been tried.

He was recently appointed the regional military chief. “Siagian is doing the same work he did in Timor. But for the moment, he is using some new tactics,” Mr Yoman said. “He may not kill Papuans, but he is promoting a character assassination of the pro-independence Papuans.”
Mr Yoman said Colonel Siagian and other members of the Indonesian military (TNI) had been meeting several militias in the last few weeks.

Around 500 pro-Indonesian nationalists and militia members met at a military auditorium in Jayapura on July 6, where Colonel Siagian was reported to have spoken. Present at the meeting were members of the notorious Merah Putih militia, which means red and white, referring to the colours of the Indonesian flag. Another Merah Putih gathering took place in Biak on July 15, while a large gathering of militias and TNI representatives took place in Koya Barat, near Jayapura, on July 19. It is also reported that the Indonesian military gave 70 community leaders “survival” training this month.

Matthew Jamieson, of the Australia-based Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR), said Colonel Siagian’s close relationship with the militias heightened tensions. The IPAHR is among the 30 organisations that last month sent an open letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono calling for Colonel Siagian’s withdrawal due to his Timor indictments.

“The organisation of militias increases the level of danger to local activists, because more civilians are involved in the essentially political programme of the security forces,” he said. “Also, the militia give the TNI a group on hand to display a militantly pro-Jakarta population. The TNI can then use this force in various ways to subvert the campaign for self-determination.

“There is the threat of what happened in East Timor repeating in Papua,” he added.

East Timor voted for independence in 1999. The referendum was followed by an orgy of violence with pro-Jakarta militias killing more than 1,500 people and destroying 70 percent of the region’s infrastructure. The militias also caused bloodshed during the 24-year-long occupation.

In Papua, Colonel Siagian has made it clear that he will not tolerate talk of separatism. “What is absolutely certain is that anyone who tends towards separatism will be crushed by the TNI,” he told the Cenderawasih Pos newspaper on July 7.

“In the interests of the Republic of Indonesia, we are not afraid of human rights. We are quite prepared to imprison anyone, or dismiss them from their posts, whatever is in the interest of Indonesia.”

A few days later, Colonel Siagian told the same newspaper: “If I meet anyone who has enjoyed the facilities that belong to the state, but who still betrays the nation, I will honestly destroy him.”

The IPAHR also claimed that in Timika, where the giant US Freeport copper and gold mine is based, the Merah Putih militia was led by an islander who was a former member of Indonesia’s infamous special forces unit, Kopassus.

The IPAHR says there are militias in Manokwari, Wamena and Nabir, three other Papuan cities.

“The situation needs scrutiny. What Papua needs is to be open to independent international observers and the media,” Mr Jamieson said.

The Jayapura authorities were unavailable for comment.
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.

#57729 - 01 Aug 07 13:19 Re: Militias in Papua [Re: riccardo]
riccardo Offline

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
It's not clear if this was a response to the above quotes that Yoman made, but here's today's latest update...


Indonesia: Papua Christian leader threatened

Jakarta, 31 July (AKI) - A Christian leader in Indonesia's secessionist Papua region says police have threatened him amid growing tensions between Jakarta and local pro-independence groups.

"A policeman pointed a gun at my head", Yoman told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a telephone interview.

Yoman identified the police man he says threatened him as Abiddin Zainal, who is stationed at at the police headquarters in Abepura.

Police refused to comment on the allegations when contacted by phone by AKI.

The incident happened when police confronted the cleric and a group of his supporters who were holding a street protest against the decision by authorities to remove him as president of the Baptist Church.

"The move (to remove me) was orchestrated by the Indonesian secret services and by some local politicians. I was almost unanimously elected as head of my congregation and I cannot be removed from office", Yoman told AKI.

"The Church places me in a position of strength and on a platform from where I can denounce the abuses that are happening in Papua. This angers them (the authorities)."

"What they are trying to do is a political move aimed at silencing me", Yoman said.

Yoman is one of the most vocal supporters for Papua's self-determination. Indonesia annexed the territory following a 1969 referendum widely believed to have been rigged.

Yoman has also repeatedly accused the Indonesian military of human rights abuses against the local population.
Just here proffering my pearls to swine, my throat to wolves and my trousers to the flagpole.


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