Home / Headlines / Politics, Government & Security

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 - 23:49 WIB

Inside the West Papua Resistance : A Photo Essays

OPM soldiers sing the outlawed West Papuan independence song,

OPM soldiers sing the outlawed West Papuan independence song, "Hai Tanahku Papua." Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

By Rohan Radheya

Jayapura, Jubi/TheDiplomat – In the jungles of West Papua with the military wing of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka.

 

OPM soldiers pose during a military drill. Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

OPM soldiers pose during a military drill.
Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

 

The Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) was first created in the 1960s by a group of comrades who called themselves West Papuan Freedom fighters. The organization was created to fight the Indonesian Army, which had occupied large parts of West Papua after the Dutch colonialists withdrew.

An OPM soldier poses during a military drill. Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

An OPM soldier poses during a military drill.
Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

Loading...
;

 

The movement grew rapidly in the late 1970s with fighters joining its ranks in all major provinces of West Papua. Their operations mainly consisted of attacking Indonesian patrols. Over the years it started to carry out more sophisticated attacks on foreign mining companies, such as blowing up pipelines in the Grasberg mine in Freeport.

A senior OPM Commander salutes his superior during an military drill. Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

A senior OPM Commander salutes his superior during an military drill.
Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

 

It carried out assaults on civilian aircrafts in Timika, targeted foreign migrant workers, and kidnapped foreigners and journalists during the infamous Mapenduma incident.

The militant wing of the OPM allegedly had ties to former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddaffi, who had also supplied weapons to the group. Some senior OPM Commanders underwent training in Libya in the 1990s.

Chief Commander Richard Joweni posing with his bodyguards. Joweni is one of the most senior commanders within the OPM. He has been leading a guerrilla campaign against the Indonesian army for more than 40 years. His demands are a withdrawal of Indonesian troops and a transition of power back to West Papuan leaders. Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

Chief Commander Richard Joweni posing with his bodyguards. Joweni is one of the most senior commanders within the OPM. He has been leading a guerrilla campaign against the Indonesian army for more than 40 years. His demands are a withdrawal of Indonesian troops and a transition of power back to West Papuan leaders.
Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

 

The diplomatic wing of the OPM also received support from the government of Senegal in the 1990s and were permitted to open a mission in Dakar.

Today, the military wing has many splinter groups who operate independently.

The morning star symbol on the uniform of an OPM soldier.The morning star, better known as the West Papuan independence flag, is banned under Indonesian law.Displaying the morning star can carry prison terms of 15 to 20 years. Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

The morning star symbol on the uniform of an OPM soldier.The morning star, better known as the West Papuan independence flag, is banned under Indonesian law.Displaying the morning star can carry prison terms of 15 to 20 years.
Image Credit: Rohan Radheya

 

Some factions have agreed to a truce with the Indonesian government; others continue to wage their guerrilla campaign.

Photojournalist Rohan Radheya was allowed to follow elements of the military wing, visiting their headquarters deep within the jungles of West Papua. (*)

This article and photos was published by The Diplomat

 

Share :

Baca Juga

Headlines

Reconstruction is necessary to track the implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua

Headlines

Three refugees reportedly died in Nduga Forest
victor yeimo

Politics, Government & Security

Court starts Victor Yeimo’s pretrial hearing

Headlines

Tolikara Incident : One Killed and 11 Wounded

Headlines

Defeating Warrior FC 6-0, Persipura’s ticket to Bengaluru, India

Politics, Government & Security

The Police Chief of NRFPB Suspect in Treason Case

Headlines

President of Indonesia : Starting Tomorrow, All Foreign Journalists are Free to go to West Papua

Politics, Government & Security

Mayor of Jayapura committed to fight alcohol