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Home » , , , , , » West Papuan delegation tells its side of story in wake of recent violence

West Papuan delegation tells its side of story in wake of recent violence

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on June 26, 2012 | 7:21 PM

Source:Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Philip Jacobson in Jakarta

A group of Papuans was in Jakarta this week to give their own account of the recent escalation of violence in their home region of West Papua
Which they say has been distorted by imbalanced media coverage and statements by authorities who claim that pro-independence militants are behind it.

Meanwhile, reports of arrests continue to flow out of Papua as a police crackdown there seemingly intensifies, with the Jayapura police chief announcing on Monday that his forces had detained three people responsible for “spreading fear and terror” in the province.

The three — Jefry Wandikwo, Zakius Saplay and Calvin Wenda — allegedly acted in conjunction with slain independence activist Mako Tabuni to perpetuate a series of shootings in Jayapura, including an attack on a German tourist who was wounded.

Mako, who was deputy chairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), was shot dead earlier this month by plainclothes police sent to arrest him.

Officers say they had to shoot Mako because he resisted arrest and made a grab at one of their guns. But witnesses interviewed by the National Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence
(Kontras) say the police shot him from their car.

“This is nothing new, these gross human rights violations against those accused of being supporters of separatists,” Rev Benny Giay, who was part of the delegation from Papua and spoke at Kontras on Tuesday, said after the event. “This is how they try to weaken, try to control the civilians.”

Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare said Calvin was involved in the shooting of the German tourist while Jefry and Zakius were involved in the killing of a rental car driver as well as arson along with Mako.

Police searching

The police are still looking for three people allegedly involved: Andi Muk, Slamet Kosay, Mako Tabuni and Dani Wenda.
“Although we arrested the three we believe are behind the act of violence and shooting, to this day we cannot conclude definitively the motive behind these acts. But what is certain is that they have spread fear and terror among residents,” Papare said.

On Sunday, Australia-based Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR), reported that five others had been arrested: Zakeus Hupla, Wayut Aspalek, Niel Kogoya, Niel Wolom and Ishak Elopere. At least three of them were KNPB members, IPAHR said.

KNPB was founded in 2008. In coordination with the Britain-based Free Papua Movement and other international groups, it campaigns for a referendum on Papuan self-determination. Its members, mostly students and ex-students, organise demonstrations and hold speaking events to promote their cause.
The Indonesian security apparatus characterises the group as a “dangerous separatist organisation”. Its members and supporters, meanwhile, including Giay, say it acts peacefully.

An International Crisis Group report from 2010 said the organisation consisted of “mostly university-educated students and ex-students who adopted a militant left-wing ideology and saw themselves as revolutionaries, fighting the Indonesian state and the giant Freeport copper and gold mine near Timika … they increasingly saw that the only hope of achieving their cause lay in showing the world that Papua was in crisis — and that meant more visible manifestations of conflict.”

That same year, the University of Sydney’s West Papua Project authored a rebuttal to the ICG report.
It stated: “We have found instead that the KNPB is primarily a media and information clearinghouse that expresses mainstream views held by a wide spectrum of Papuan civil society and political organisations, as well as the armed wing of the OPM.”

Giay said the ICG report was “crazy” and “biased.”
KNPB chairman Buchtar Tabuni, no relation to Mako, was imprisoned for three years in 2008 on charges of makar, or subversion, related to his work with KNPB.

Benny Wenda, the exiled Papuan who founded the Free Papua Movement (OPM), said the security forces saw Mako as a threat because of his advocacy, which was why they killed him.

“Mako and Buchtar are really, really brave to tell the truth,” Benny told the Jakarta Globe by phone from Britain. “Indonesia always blames West Papuans. They never look for justice.
“It really upsets me, really.”
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