1) TNI Uses No Major Explosives in Papua Evacuation
TNI soldiers are preparing to take a helicopter to Nduga in Wamena, Papua, Wednesday, December 5, 2018. The joint forces continue to try to overcome the Armed Criminal Group (KKB) which allegedly killed 31 employees of PT Istika Karya while carrying out the Trans Papua route in Yigi rever and Aurak river in Yigi District, Nduga Regency, Papua. ANTARA PHOTO/Iwan Adisaputra
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta- Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto denied recent rumors accusing the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) had utilized explosive devices upon evacuating residents from threats posed by the Free PapuaMovement (OPM).
He maintained that only grenade launchers were used in TNI’s rescue attempt in Nduga District, Papua. Wiranto’s clarification came after the Nduga Legislative Council (DPRD), Ikabus Gwijangge, received a tip from locals that civilians had fallen victim to TNI’s evacuation process.
“The sounds created by it may seem similar to a bomb explosion to untrained ears. Bombs are dropped by the air assault, this one is launched from a grenade launcher. Don’t let unverified information like that spread,” said Wiranto today, Dec. 11.
Civilians in the vicinity of the conflict-stricken region of Nduga are currently being evacuated by a joint team comprising of Papua’s TNI personnel, Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), and non-organic special ops such as the Kopassus. On December 2, as many as 28 construction workers were attacked by an armed group claiming to be from the Free PapuaMovement (OPM) which eventually killed 14 people at Nduga. Others managed to flee the scene but only four people made it to a local army base TNI Yonif 755 in Mbua. RYAN DWIKY ANGGRIAWAN
2) Minister denies military uses bombs to chase armed criminal group
Reporter: Antara 5 hours ago
Jakarta, Dec 11 (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Wiranto denied that the Indonesian Military (TNI) used bombs to chase an armed criminal group that killed construction workers in Nduga District, Papua Province, on Dec 2.
"It is not true (that the TNI used bombs). The truth is that they used grenade launchers. For the knowledge of the general public, a grenade makes the same sound as a bomb, but they are different. A bomb is launched from air, while a grenade is fired from a rifle. Hence, there should not be mazy stories like those," he explained after a coordination meeting on the settlement of the Papua issue at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs here on Tuesday.
An integrated task force involving military and police personnel is conducting an operation to chase the armed criminal group.
"Admittedly, mazy stories have been circulating about the number of personnel. I should disclose that non-organic assistance units have been deployed. Hence, not only organic troops from Brimob (the National Police`s Mobile Brigade) unit and the TNI in Papua have been deployed but also non-organic troops from outside Papua have been sent there, be it from Brimob or Kopassus (the Army`s special force)," he revealed.
Both Brimob and Kopassus personnel are needed to chase the armed criminal group in Nduga District owing to the difficult terrain, he stated.
Wiranto said the government will never hold discussions with the armed criminal group.
"I will not hold any discussion with criminals. I did not reply to what they have claimed. Of course, their claim is not true," he clarified.
They have launched propagation to trigger public unrest and fear, he claimed.
"What is the point to reply to the claim. What is important is the government is always obligated to protect the state and its citizens," he added.
3) Four still missing after Nduga massacre: Minister
Marguerite Afra Sapiie The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Tue, December 11, 2018| 04:04 pm
Four workers of state-owned construction company PT Istaka Karya are still missing after an attack nearly two weeks ago led by an armed group with ties to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in Nduga regency, Papua, a senior minister has said.
Authorities have so far recovered the bodies of 17 victims who were killed in the attack, while another four workers were found alive, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto told a press conference on Tuesday.
A joint police-military task force is still searching for the remaining four missing workers, who, according to survivors’ accounts, had been able to escape but suffered from stab wounds, he said.
"We hope that we will be able to find [the four] alive because they are actually our [infrastructure] development heroes," Wiranto said on Tuesday.
The 25 victims, who were kidnapped by rebels from the Istaka Karya camp in Nduga on Dec. 1, had been working on the construction of a 275-kilometer stretch of road connecting Wamena and Mamugu as part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s flagship trans-Papua highway project.
In the meantime, security forces have continued their hunt for a National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPNPB) faction led by Egianus Kogoya that had claimed responsibility for the deaths of the construction workers and one Indonesian Military (TNI) soldier.
The TPNPB, however, claimed that the workers were not civilians, but members of the Indonesian Army Corps of Engineers (ZIPUR).
"The enemy [TPNPB], who attempted to retaliate, have escaped and the authorities are still making an effort to run after them," Wiranto said, "They have spread propaganda to scare people [...] They have committed inhumane crimes and we must fight against them."
4) Separatists in Indonesia's Papua reject surrender, demand referendum
11 Dec 2018 06:25PM (Updated: 11 Dec 2018 06:52PM)
JAKARTA: Separatist rebels in Indonesia's Papua province who killed a group of workers building a bridge this month have rejected government calls to surrender and instead demanded a referendum to decide the future of the area.
Security forces have launched an operation to hunt down members of the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), which claimed responsibility for killing at least 16 workers and a soldier in the mountainous Nduga area.
The OPM has said it viewed the men as members of the militaryand casualties in a war against Indonesia's government. Indonesian officials said the workers were civilians.
Papua, the resource-rich western part New Guinea island, has been plagued by a violent separatist conflict since the former Dutch colony was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticized U.N.-backed referendum in 1969.
In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, OPM spokesman Sebby Sambom read an open letter to President Joko Widodo in which he dismissed calls on their military wing, known as the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), to surrender and start dialogue.
Standing behind the banned separatist Morning Star flag, Sambom demanded Widodo hold another referendum for native Papuans to decide whether they want to be integrated with Indonesia.
"TPNPB will not surrender under any circumstances before the independence of the nation of Papua is realized from Indonesian occupation," Sambom said."The war will not stop before the demands of the TPNPB are carried out by the government of Indonesia."
He called for unrestricted access to Papua for foreign journalists and for the U.N. refugee agency and the international Red Cross to help take care of civilians caught up in the conflict. Sambom confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday the authenticity of the video.
A spokesman for President Widodo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2017, a senior government official, in response to a petition to the United Nations for a new referendum, said Papua was a legal part of Indonesia and already incorporated through a referendum process.
The OPM had accused the military of killing civilians in its operations which it said included bombings.
Chief Security Minister Wiranto rejected that accusation but said soldiers did use grenades in clashes.
Two soldiers were wounded on Tuesday and three separatists had been killed in clashes, the military said.
Since coming to power in 2014, Widodo has tried to ease tension in Papua by freeing prisoners, addressing rights concerns and stepping up investment, including through a Trans Papua road.
(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies)
5) Indonesia rejects rebels' demand on Papua independence talks
By NINIEK KARMINI Associated Press DECEMBER 11, 2018 — 6:55AM
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's government on Tuesday rejected a demand by rebels in the country's restive Papua province to hold negotiations on the territory's self-determination, following a Dec. 2 attack on a construction site that left at least 17 dead.
An insurgency has simmered in Papua since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region that was a former Dutch colony. It was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many.
Sebby Sambom, spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Movement, said in a telephone interview last Friday that the attack on the government construction site was carried out because the group believes the project is being conducted by the military.
He called on the government to agree to peace talks similar to ones that led to another province, Aceh, becoming semiautonomous, or a "real referendum" on independence, as occurred in the former Indonesian territory of East Timor.
Wiranto, Indonesia's coordinating minister for political, legal and security matters, told a news conference in the capital, Jakarta, that the government will not open talks with the armed group, which he said was trying to instill fear into people.
"We will not talk with criminals," said Wiranto, who goes by a single name.
Security forces have retrieved the bodies of 17 workers hired to build bridges on a section of the trans-Papua road, Papua province military spokesman Col. Muhammad Aidi said. A soldier at a military post near the site was also killed.
They have rescued 27, including seven workers, and are searching for four others with stab wounds who are still missing. Aidi said rebel strongholds in Nduga district attacked a rebuilt military post Tuesday in the same district, injuring two soldiers in a shootout.
National police chief Tito Karnavian estimated the strength of the armed group in the district at not more than 50 people with about 20 weapons, and said more than 150 police and soldiers had been sent to hunt down the perpetrators.
More than 1,500 villagers in Mbua, Yall and Yigi villages have fled into the jungle because of the fighting, which witnesses said has intensified in the mountainous district since last week and killed at least four civilians.
A Christian priest from Kingmi church, Benny Giay, said two of the four men were members of the church assembly. They were killed inside the church by security forces during the evacuation process of the bodies of workers and survivors in Mbua and Yigi villages between Dec. 4 and 5, he said. Four other villagers were reportedly injured.
Giay said villagers who fled into the mountainous jungle were in danger of being sick from cold and hunger.
"All the victims were noncombatant," he said. "We urged all sides to restrain because innocent civilians will become the victims in this armed conflict."
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press last Friday, Sambom, who claimed that the rebels have 29 operational area commands in Papua, each with 2,500 members, vowed to intensify the fight for independence with guerrilla hit-and-run attacks.