Friday, March 15, 2019

1) More Indonesian troops sent to West Papua


2) Smuggler arrested in Papua with over 2,000 endangered turtles
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1) More Indonesian troops sent to West Papua
Green Left Weekly
Susan Price March 15, 2019 
Issue 1213 West Papua


                     A solidarity rally in Vanuatu in 2018 supporting West Papua's struggle for self-determination.

According to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), an additional 650 Indonesian commandos were deployed along with an extra 2000 troops on March 12 to the Central Highlands of West Papua to fight the West Papua National Liberation Army.
The Indonesian government has been blocking all emergency food, water and medicines supplied by local churches and NGOs to the central highland districts of Nduga, Kenyam, Yigi, Mbua, and Mapunduma for the past three months.
The ULMWP said the 650 additional commandos have been deployed to “hunt and kill West Papuan freedom fighters” and “eliminate the independence movement”.
Troops have smashed people’s homes and destroyed their gardens in 11 districts in Nduga Regency. Houses and the Jerusalem Church in Barapgin village were specifically targeted, as were houses and churches in Opmo village, in Mbua district in the Nduga Regency.
The ULMWP is concerned that the intermittent battles since December between the West Papuan freedom fighters and the colonial Indonesian security forces will escalate, and war may engulf the territory with an inestimable number of civilian casualties.
The ULMWP is an umbrella grouping of the three main West Papuan independence groups inside the country and works diplomatically at an international level to support West Papua’s right to self-determination.
The people whose rights the fighters are defending are the poorest in West Papua and in Indonesia. ULMWP spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak said: “The United Nations needs to ensure that humanitarian supplies including food, water and medicines reach areas of West Papua which are presently blockaded by the Indonesian military. A UN security presence is needed to protect civilians in the Nduga, Kenyam Yigi, Mbua and Mapunduma districts of West Papua.”

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2) Smuggler arrested in Papua with over 2,000 endangered turtles

News Desk Agence France-Presse
Jayapura   /   Fri, March 15, 2019   /   03:33 pm

A man has been arrested for trying to smuggle 2,000 endangered pig-nosed turtles, police said, marking the latest wildlife-trafficking arrest as the Southeast Asian nation battles the vast trade.
Authorities in Papua province said they seized 2,227 of the palm-sized turtles which were stuffed into boxes on a boat docked in the remote town of Agats.
"Officers saw a port worker carrying three big boxes and got suspicious," Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said late Thursday.
"This is protected species and they are not for sale."
Following the discovery, police arrested another man believed to be involved in the trafficking bid. The port worker was not detained. 
If convicted, the arrested man could face up to five years in prison and a 100 million rupiah ($7,000) fine, police said.
It was not clear where the turtle shipment was headed.
The pig-nosed turtle -- which has a distinctive snout-like nose and webbed feet -- is only found in Australia and New Guinea, an island shared between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, and is protected under Indonesian conservation laws.
Some turtle species are popular in China and elsewhere in Asia as food or for use in traditional medicine.
In 2014, Indonesian officials rescued more than 8,000 baby pig-nosed turtles hidden in suitcases and thought to be destined for China and Singapore.
This year, smugglers were arrested in neighbouring Malaysia with some 3,300 endangered turtles aboard their boat.
Indonesia, an archipelago of some 17,000 islands, is home to a kaleidoscope of exotic animals and plants, but the illegal trade in wildlife is rampant and laws aimed at providing protection are often poorly enforced.
Numerous endangered species, from the Sumatran elephant to the Javan rhino, have been driven to the brink of extinction.
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