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Home » , , , , » Call to pull special forces out of Papua

Call to pull special forces out of Papua

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on June 29, 2013 | 8:23 PM

The Regional Representatives Council (DPD) has strongly urged the government to cease military operations and withdraw special forces from Papua and West Papua to end the prolonged violence in the country’s easternmost provinces.

The DPD said that the presence of the non-garrison troops, who mostly belong to elite forces within the Indonesian Military (TNI), had caused animosity among local groups who have launched attacks against them.

“If Jakarta wants to end violence, the militaristic approach has to stop, and all non-garrison troops from the military elite forces must be withdrawn from the two provinces because their presence and their irregular operations have triggered attacks on garrison troops and innocent civilians,” DPD deputy chairman Laode Ida said on Tuesday.

The council suggested that after the withdrawal of these troops, the security operation should be handled by the local police in close coordination with the Cenderawasih Military Command (KODAM).

Papua DPD member Ferdinanda Ibo Yatipay alleged that the presence of non-garrison troops in Papua was designed “to maintain instability” in the region.

Ferdinanda also said that the series of violent incidents in the past few years could be attributed to growing dismay with the regional autonomy program, which had so far only benefited local elites.

“Ten years after the granting of special autonomy status, no new infrastructure in the transportation, education and health sectors has been built, while the largest chunk of special autonomy funds has been used to finance the bureaucracy or been stolen by corrupt local elites and powerful officials from Jakarta,” she said.

In the past 10 years, the government has disbursed Rp 47 trillion (US$4.84 billion) in special autonomy funds in an attempt to accelerate development in Papua, one of the country’s poorest provinces in spite of its abundant natural resources.

The government had earlier admitted that the management of the special autonomy funds has been plagued with problems.

Chief of the Special Unit of Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), Bambang Darmono, said Papuans themselves were not ready to manage the huge budget.

“We’ve found that the absence of local regulations on the management of the funds has encouraged confusion and bickering among local leaders and members of the indigenous councils on how to best use the money,” he told members of the House of Representatives’ Commission II overseeing domestic governance earlier this week.

The House’s Commission I overseeing defense has once again urged the government to hold dialogue with separatist groups in Papua, to help reduce tension in the region.

“The government must give them a chance to freely speak their minds. Listening to them does not mean bowing to their demands. This is only the first step toward having a mutual understanding before moving to the next step,” Commission I member Ahmad Muzani of the Great Indonesian Movement (Gerindra) Party said.

In Papua, the Paniai Police apprehended on Tuesday two alleged members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) led by John Yogi, after a tip-off from locals who said that three armed men were seen in a boat crossing the lake and landing at the foot of Mount Bobairo.

Paniai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Semmy Ronny Abaa led a 30-strong manhunt team sweeping the mountain but the three armed individuals managed to flee by speedboat to Kebo village.
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