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

TPNPB denies the claim troops taking control of Tembagapura


Jayapura, JubiWest Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) accused the Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) Commander and National Police Chief for developing a scenario of deploying additional troops to secure the area of Freeport. TPNPB spokesperson Sebby Sembom declared it regarding the visit of the two highest rank chiefs of the Indonesian security forces to Timika, Papua, which is said to review the control over Tembagapura Sub-district by the liberation army.

Sembom denied this claim. “It might be a scenario to deploy more soldiers to Timika,” he told Jubi on Tuesday (1/9/2020). Sembom further highlighted that it was not true that TPNPB has taken control of Tembagapura Sub-district, the area which covers the Freeport mining site. In fact, Sembom said, TPNPB troops are not there anymore.

“All retreated for evaluation. But the location is still near Freeport. They can still attack Freeport anytime,” said Sembom.

In the meantime, TNI Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and National Police Chief Idham Aziz with ten high-rank military and police chiefs arrived at Timika on Saturday afternoon (29/8/2020) and directly joined a meeting. The meeting held at Rimba Papua Hotel was closed for the press.

“This is an internal event. Therefore, from the arrival to the meeting, we cannot allow the press to cover,” the Mimika Sectoral Police published an official announcement to journalists.


Among the highlighted issues discussed in the meeting were the concern to address the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) which was declared still entrenched Aroanop, Tembagapura Sub-district.

It relates to the fact that TPNPB is increasingly attacking the Freeport area, both in Tembagapura or in Mimika lowlands. As a result of this attack, since the early of March, thousands of villagers of Waa-Banti, Kimbeli and Opitawak villages located near Tembagapura were evacuated to Timika.

The prolonged handling of Tembagapura refugees has now led to some new problems in the provision of housing facilities, food, health services, education, and so on. The meeting also discussed the demonstration held by Freeport workers who closed access to the mining area in Ridge Camp Mile 72. The road blockage by Freeport workers ended on Friday (28/8/2020) after the corporate management dealing with employees to fulfil their requests. (*)

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