Intan Jaya
Residents of Intan Jaya Regency, Papua, seek safety at the front yard of Bilogai Catholic Church in Intan Jaya following armed conflicts. Jub/.Handout

The more security personnel in Intan Jaya, the less secure the people will feel: Councilor


West Papua No. 1 News Portal | Jubi


Jayapura, Jubi – A Papua Legislative councilor from Intan Jaya electoral district, Thomas Sondegau, said the new deployment of security personnel to Intan Jaya would make residents in the regency more scared and worried about their safety.


He responded to the new batch of deployment–100 members of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) from East Nusa Tenggara Police–deployed to Intan Jaya on Feb. 18.



East Nusa Tenggara Police chief, Insp. Gen. Lotharia Latif, said the 100 personnel was tasked to “anticipate the disturbance” from the armed group in Papua.


Read also: Three Intan Jaya residents dead, allegedly in the hands of TNI personnel


He said the personnel would be stationed in Intan Jaya for the next six months.


Sondegau, who was born and raised in Intan Jaya, the armed conflicts between the Indonesian Military and the National Police and the West Papuan National Liberation Army (TPNPB) there had created fear among the people.


“We have seen as if all Brimob and TNI descended to Intan Jaya, making the people feel fear,” he said on Sunday, Feb. 21.


The politician from Democratic Party demanded the government to use dialogues, instead of a security approach, in finding a solution to problems in Intan Jaya. Such strategy would minimize armed altercation, so no more civilians became the victims.



Read also: Intan Jaya conflict (6): Here’s the list of violent events from Dec. 2019 to Sept. 2020


He said he received reports that the central government armed the security personnel as if they faced enemies from another country. Besides the increasing number, he noted that the equipment was quite sophisticated.


Pictures of the Brimob when they landed in Intan Jaya were circulating in social media, including one in which an officer was carrying a case allegedly containing a sniper rifle.


“We hope the government will look at this problem carefully so the steps will not make people become victims again and again. The people experience a trauma with the condition there. They experienced a lot of pressures of the conflicts between TNI and TPNPB,” he went on.


He asked the government to pull out the “non-organic” troops from Intan Jaya. “Non-organic” means those who got only temporary duty in Intan Jaya and flown in from several other areas outside the regency, even outside the province.


Intan Jaya people are between a rock and a hard place now, he said.


Earlier, human rights activist Theo Hesegem questioned the presence and the works of Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) and Papua administration in ending armed conflicts in Intan Jaya, which had happened since 2019.


The regency had recorded several civilian fatalities, both allegedly in the hands of TPNPB and Indonesian security personnel. Scared, people had left their kampung to seek safety in other places.


Hesegem questioned the roles of Papua administration and legislative council in Intan Jaya. He said the best the politicians and bureaucrats had done was talk to the media but he saw no follow up.


He said both institutions once made a statement regarding another restive regency, Nduga, and demanded the government to reduce the security personnel in Nduga in 2018. Thousands of Nduga people had left their home, some to the forests, some to other regencies, where they lived in a poor condition.


Hesegem said the statement was met with criticism including from the central government. They then opted for silence, Hesegem said.


“Papua administration and Papua Legislative Council are now afraid because they received pressures from the central government, the intelligence body,” Hesegem claimed on Thursday, Feb. 18.


Both institutions should have initiated multi stakeholder meetings to talk about Intan Jaya. They should invite human rights activists, church leaders, customary figures, respected figures, he said. Hesegem said they never initiated any meetings among those he mentioned. He said the stakeholders he listed had their own data from the field.


Councilor Sondegau said religious leaders, customary figures could talk to members of TPNPB, especially the ones that were born and raised in Intan Jaya.


“The figures could approach those who were born and raised in Intan Jaya, talking heart to heart. But the same approach would not be easily used to those who hailed from outside Intan Jaya,” he said.


Outgoing Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said Intan Jaya needed the involvement of the Papua administration and Papua Legislative Council. “Go to the people, talk to them,” he said.


Reporter: Arjuna Pardemme

Editor: Dewi Hutabarat, Angela Flassy, Evi Mariani

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