National Liberation Army of West Papua
National Liberation Army of West Papua- Supplied

‘Who’s the real terrorist in Papua?’: Indonesian govt wants to call TPNPB terrorist group


West Papua No. 1 News Portal | Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) is mulling over a plan to put West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) into a terrorist group category, a plan that has drawn controversies and comments.


Markus Haluk, executive director of United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), questioned the plan. “Who are the real terrorists who keep terrorizing civilians in Papua, who are the rightful owners of Papua Land? Once again, who are the real terrorists?” said Haluk to Jubi on March 24, 2021.


On Monday, March 22, 2021, the head of BNPT, Comr. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar, told a hearing with legislators of the Commission III at the House of Representatives in Jakarta, that they were studying legal documents to put “armed criminals group” or “KKB”, the government term for TPNPB, to put TPNPB into “terrorist” category.



Boy was quoted as saying by CNN Indonesia that “the real condition on the field, actually they could be said to have conducted terrorist actions.


Haluk said TPNPB existed for the sake of Papuan people. He said the fight for Papuan independence had existed since 1961. “The formation of the movement culminated on Dec. 1, 1961, when Papuan people raised the Morning Star flag, sang a song called “Hai Tanahku Papua” or “Hi, My Papua Land”. Haluk said they also sang Dutch anthem and raised the Dutch flag.


He claimed that fighting for Papua’s independence was legal according to international law. He also recited Indonesian Constitution: Whereas independence is the inalienable right of all nations, therefore, all colonialism must be abolished in this world as it is not in conformity with humanity and justice. “It is the inalienable right of all nations, including Papuan nation. All colonialism must be abolished, including Indonesian against Papuans,” he said.


Haluk said TPNPB had never come with arms to shoot Indonesians in places outside Papua Land like in Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.


On the other hand, he said, Indonesian security personnel had created terror among the civilians, shooting people including religious figures, he said.


The family of Rev. Yeremia Zanambani, a respected pastor in Papua Land who lived in Intan Jaya Regency, accused some Indonesian Military (TNI) members of killing Zanambani. The Indonesian government and TNI, however, have been keeping mum about it, and the report of the government sponsored fact-finding team on the murder was inconclusive.


Read also: West Papua liberation army, TPNPB, denies taking a Susi Air pilot, passengers hostage


“Who came to Papua from faraway places and terrorized the civilians? Who caused residents of Nduga, Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya and Puncak in Papua to become displaced people?” he said.


The TNI and the National Police had said that the presence of TPNPB in those places were the cause of unrest and had caused civilians to feel fear. ULMWP and other organizations in Papua Land, said otherwise. They had been calling for the central government to pull out “nonorganic” troops from Papua Land. Nonorganic troops are soldiers who were on duty somewhere outside Papua but deployed to Papua Land to “secure” the restive region.


Haluk asked President Joko Widodo, TNI chief, the National Police chief, and the Political, Legal, and Security Coordinating Minister, Defense Minister and the head of BNPT to be honest and answer the question: Time to honestly answer this, who terrorize, silence democracy and isolate Melanesians in West Papua,” said Haluk.


Read also: Intan Jaya conflict (2): Civilians become victims of TNI-TPNPB war


TPNPB spokesperson, Sebby Sambom, said Indonesian government could not put them into terrorist category because “the world knows TPNPB fight for our demand, have our rights to self determination given to us,” said Sambom on March 24, 2021.


Sambom said Jakarta’s plan to call TPNPB terrorists arose because Jakarta failed to get international support. “What Jakarta decides won’t get international recognition, because our political status is different,” he said.


Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G

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