Kelly Kwalik Died to Free the People of Papua
Portrait of General Kelly Kwalik, Leader of the TPN/OPM in the struggle to free the People of Papua
By Markus Haluk
Biodata of General Kelly Kwalik
Full Name: Keletus Kelly Kulalok Kwalik
Nickname: Kelly Kwalik (KK)
Place and date of birth: In Lembah Jila, in 1955 (Can’t be sure of the exact date because they were not recorded.)
Tribal background: Tsinga, of the tribe of Amungme, (the clan that owns the mountain region where Freeport Corp. mine is presently located – a mine which is exploiting that area, mining copper, gold and other materials.)
Education: He finished his primary school education in Agimuka, and then continued to junior high school in Kokonau. However, he did not finish this level. In 1973 he continued his education at SGB ( School for training lower level teachers) at the Catholic Organisation for Education and Schooling at Bakti, Waena Jayapura, until 1974. According to the evidence of the Rector who was teaching there at that time, he did not go on to the Higher School for teachers, but in 1975 was sent out to teach at Agimuka.
Status: Married with children.
A. Leader in the struggle for independence:
1975-1979 : Deputy Leader III (Area Military Commander) Nemangkawi, Timika Papua
1980-2007 : Leader KODAP III Nemangkawi, Timika, Papua
2007- : Leader TPN-PB/OPM (National Liberation Army of Papua Barat/ Organisation for the Liberation of Papua)
He finished his education in 1975 from the Teachers’ College at Taruna Bakti, and worked up to the date of 26 December 1976. He then joined the Cabinet of the Revolutionary Government at their Headquarters in Victoria, in the Keerom area, on the 1st July 1971 under the leadership of Zet Rumkorem and Jacob Pray. He was installed as the Deputy Leader of KODAP III Nemangkai, with Bonifasius Niwilinggame as commander of KODAP III. At this time he was also leader of 7 KODAM (now 10 KODAP). In those times they would spend weeks and months walking through the bush to communicate between the different areas of KODAP. They had to journey between Wamena and Ilaga to arrive at Amungsa Timika.
In 1977 there was a big operation against the Indonesian military which began in the District of Agimuka, the area of the Amungme people. In that same year, the military began an operation in the area of Jayawijaya and most other areas of the central mountains. During these events, there were many people killed – shot, burnt, stabbed, raped, and destroyed in other ways. As well as that, many people who fled the violence died in the jungle of starvation and lack of medicine. The houses and property of the people were routinely burnt by the military.
As a sign of protest against these military campaigns which happened in the country of Amungsa-Timika, in 1977 Kelly Kwalik became leader of the struggle which began against the military and against the Freeport company, taking actions to barricade and cut Freeport’s copper supply connecting Grasberg, Tembagapura to the port at Port Sait. In response to these operations, Freeport helped the Indonesian Military to engage in wholesale annihilation of the people on a large scale. On seeing the reaction of Freeport and the Military to these actions, Kelly Kwalik wrote a public notice to the military leaders to formally declare the place and time this war was taking place. He did this to try to avoid the wholesale victimization of the people of the area. However, the military paid no attention to his letter, and many civilians became victims in this campaign.
The name of Kelly Kwalil came into prominence on the national and international stage in 1996 at Mapenduma, when a group of expeditioners, coming from the Science Club of the National university, Jakarta, and from Cambridge University, England, to the mountain of Lorentz, were taken hostage as they began their return from the mountain. Kelly Kwalik demanded that the international community free Papua. This drama went from the middle of January until May 1996, accompanied by a military operation by ABRI. The reason for the campaign was that the people of Amungme were suffering badly from the military operations. ABRI was combing the villages around Bela and Alama, looking for Kelly Kwalik’s troops, and wreaking havoc on ordinary citizens of Amungme up until 1997.
In 2002 there was a shooting of two American teachers at Mile 62-63, and there was a lot of controversyt about this incident. The military blamed Kelly Kwalik for the shooting; however he said that he was not responsible for the shooting.
On 11th July 2009, there was another shooting of an Australian citizen, as well as some Papuan citizens, in the Freeport area. The local police chief, General F.X. Bagus Pada 11 July 2009, Ekodanto met with Kelly Kwalik in the Timika area. Out of this meeting he was assured that it was not Kelly Kwalik who did the shooting of the Australian citizen. Some days later, at Pangdam XII Cendrawasi, the KNPI ( the Committee of Young People of Indonesia) said that the shooting and violence looked like the work of Kelly Kwalik. Two two-star generals each said that this shooting was just part of a series over the last three months.
The last shooting to happen in the area of Freeport happened on the 20th October 2009, at the time of the installation of the re-elected President. The whole series of shootings stopped after there were 15 peace keepers brought in from other countries with dogs and other peace-keeping methods in the Freeport area.
C. Prayer to God by Kelly Kwalik
In the 34 years I have been defending this forest and country, I have climbed many hills and mountains; I have walked many valleys and wetlands; for 34 years I have defended the forests; I have crossed many lakes, rivers and seas; I have endured many days that baked my skin; I have endured the cold and freezing of my body from snow, to defend our glorious heritage, and to restore justice, so that truth, love and peace will reign again in our glorious land.
Now I pray, and I shout out with all my breath: “My God, take away all the gold, copper, oil and gas, fish, all the animals and other things that make this island rich. Just give us our FREEDOM. You placed our people in this land; but all these things that you have given us, take them all and give us only what we need today, and give us tomorrow what we need then.
C. The end of his life
On Wednesday 16 December 2009 at 3 pm, the 88 Anti-terror Unit attacked a citizen’s house. Inside that house General Kelly Kwalik, Leader of the TPN PB-OPM (National Liberation Army of Papua Barat/ Organisation for the Liberation of Papua) was shot dead. About eight bullets pierced his skin. Together with Kelly Kwalik, 88 Corps captured five other civilians who were in his home at the time. These five people were Tilda Solin (pregnant), Yohanis Kibak (husband of Tilda), Steve Mom, Jack Mom and Marhen Kwalik. They were all allowed to return home on 17 December 2009.
Thousands of citizens since that date, 16 Desember 2009 have come to see the body, wrapped in the Bendera Bintang Kejora, the Papuan flag, in the hall of the office of the the DPRD office. A Requiem Mass (a final farewell show of respect) was led by Monsignor. John Phil. Saklil, attended by the Priests and bishop of the diocese of Timika.
After this, let the government of Indonesia and the world say that Kelly Kwalki was a separatist, a traitor, a terrorists or whatever they like, to the people of Papua. He was a brave fighter in the struggle to defend genuine truth and justice for the people of Papua, and for all the tribes on the face of the Earth who yearn to stand strong for these values. For these values, Kelly Kwalik was born, lived and struggled all his life.