Monday, July 22, 2019

1) Govt distributes aid to conflict-hit residents of Papua

2) Papuan rebels kill Indonesian soldier

3) Soldier Killed in Separatist Attack on Papua Bridge Construction Site


1) Govt distributes aid to conflict-hit residents of Papua

Ivany Atina Arbi The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 22, 2019   /  11:00 am

The government has begun providing evacuees in Papua with basic needs and medical assistance after receiving a report that some 139 civilians had reportedly died in shelters because of starvation and poor living conditions. The local security authorities dismissed the report about the deaths, saying that it was "not true". 
According to a civil society coalition, the deceased individuals were among thousands of people who escaped Nduga regency in Papua amid the ongoing conflict between the military and an armed group linked to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in the region.
In response to the report, the Social Affairs Ministry channeled aid worth Rp 750 million (US$53,160) to the evacuees in the form of staple food, cooking utensils, school supplies and toys for toddlers, among other things.
The ministry stated that it was ready to provide additional aid to the conflict-hit residents if necessary. 
“I am responsible for that matter,” Social Affairs Minister Agung Gumiwang said over the weekend.
Agung had specifically ordered the ministry’s director general for social security and protection, Harry Hikmat, to visit the shelters to make sure that the assistance was properly channeled to the evacuees.
The institution had also assigned a psycho-social support team to help residents cope with trauma from the conflict related to the PT Istaka Karya incident.
In December last year, a number of fighters linked to the OPM allegedly murdered dozens of workers from the state-owned construction firm Istaka Karya. The incident eventually led to a military crackdown to hunt the suspected perpetrators.
The Nduga Solidarity Civil Society Coalition argued previously that the conflict had put the lives of Nduga residents at risk, as the military personnel kept searching residential areas using excessive power.
The security force even purportedly burned down houses and took over local churches during the military operation -- forcing locals to find safer places to live.
As a result, 11 districts in the regency had been completely vacated following the conflict, the coalition reported, adding that some 5,201 evacuees were currently lived in shelters in the neighboring city of Wamena, Jayawijaya regency.
The coalition revealed that at least 139 people had died in the shelters because of poor living condition. 
“Many of them died because of starvation. Others died within three or four days of suffering diarrhea, headaches or upper respiratory tract infections,” said Wamena-based volunteer Doly Ubruwangge.
The Social Affairs Ministry admitted the shelters were in poor condition, but it has yet to confirm the reports about the deaths of some evacuees. 
“We haven’t received any report about the deaths either from the Wamena administration or the Papua Social Agency, so we need to clarify this to the media,” said the ministry’s director general for social security and protection, Harry Hikmat.
He also forwarded a report from the Papua military command, citing that the report about the deaths was “not true”. The army even claimed that some people who previously resided in the Jayawijaya shelters had already returned to their homes.
“[The coalition] might have made up the story to gain the government’s attention [and to persuade the government] to withdraw the military personnel from Nduga,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency head Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo, as quoted by Harry.
The Indonesian Military had committed to conduct operations in the region until they succeeded in capturing the OPM fighters who committed the “serious violation against the human rights”.
--Ardila Syakriah contributed to the story

2) Papuan rebels kill Indonesian soldier
1:03 pm today 

Rebel fighters in West Papua have killed an Indonesian soldier in a renewed threat to Jakarta's road project there.
State news agency Antara reported the hit-and-run attack on Saturday took place in Nduga regency, where rebels are waging war on the state.
An Indonesian researcher, Hipo Wangge, said it was the ninth killing of a security officer by the West Papua Liberation Army since April.
The soldier was reportedly securing the Trans-Papua road project, a major effort by the Indonesian government to develop remote areas of Papua.
In December, part of the project near Nduga was put on hold when Liberation Army fighters massacred 16 construction workers.
The attack - the bloodiest in years to take place in Papua - prompted a massive deployment of Indonesian military and police to Nduga in a hunt for the rebels, sparking sporadic gunfights which have taken dozens of lives in the months since.
Rights groups say thousands of people have been displaced from Nduga. According to one group, at least 139 displaced people have died of malnutrition and disease in a temporary camp in nearby Wamena city.
Indonesian military spokesperson Muhammad Aidi told Antara in the attack on Saturday, the soldier suffered a gunshot wound to his waist and later died, with a helicopter rescue effort hampered by bad weather.


3) Soldier Killed in Separatist Attack on Papua Bridge Construction Site

JULY 21, 2019 
Jakarta. An Indonesian soldier was killed in a separatist attack on the Yuguru River Bridge construction project in Nduga district, Papua, on Saturday.
The Indonesian Military (TNI) believes the gunmen acted under orders of Egianus Kogoya, leader of the military wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
"The incident occurred at 12.45 p.m. Eastern Indonesia Time while a member of the military was on lunch and prayer break; he was suddenly attacked by gunmen from bushes about 300 meters away," said Col. Muhammad Aidi, spokesman for the Cendrawasih Military Command.
Aidi said there may have been four or five attackers. The military is tasked with protecting construction sites on the Trans-Papua Highway, following previous attacks on construction workers.
"The other soldiers returned fire and chased after the attackers but ended the pursuit over security concerns and the inaccessibility of the terrain, which is covered in dense jungle, interspersed with many steep ravines," he said.
The soldier, identified as Pvt. Usman Hambelo, was wounded in the waist. He died about an hour later, before he could be evacuated by helicopter, which had been delayed by poor weather.

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