Jakarta, CNN Indonesia – The Indonesian Military (TNI) is preparing 400 soldiers of the “devil troops” to be sent to Papua, responding to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s order to capture all members of The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).
“Yes, we’re preparing 400 personnel of the devil troops. [They are] not yet deployed, waiting for the command from the TNI headquarters,” Siliwangi Military Command’s chief of Information Department Col. Inf. FX Sri Wellyanto confirmed via phone on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
The devil troops is the nickname of the 315/Garuda Infantry Battalion, an elite force specifically deployed in conflict zones. The soldiers are forged at Gunung Batu headquarters in West Java.
The 315/Garuda Infantry Batallion was involved in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, known as Operation Lotus, as well as in the military operations in Aceh against the Free Aceh Movement.
The TPNPB said it was not afraid of the devil troops and was ready to fight them. “The devil troops of Indonesia, please come to Papua. The heavenly army of the TPNPB is ready to fight,” TPNPB’s spokesperson Sebby Sambom told CNNIndonesia.com via a short message on Wednesday.
Last week, the Indonesian government declared the TPNPB a terrorist group, saying the TPNPB’s actions had caused civil casualties. Many parties including civil groups and Papua governor Lukas Enembe demand the government to revoke the terrorist label on the TPNPB as it would only add to the spiral of violence in Papua and against Indigenous Papuans.