Summary of events in West Papua for January 2013
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Summary of events in West Papua for January 2013
A security operation took place in the Paniai district early in the month. The sweep was partly in response to a shootout that occurred in Pugo Village, East Paniai District. The firefight took place in the village of Pugo on the afternoon of the 7 Jan which shocked the locals causing some villagers to flee to Madi, Enarotali, and other nearby villages. During the operation by the security forces who were searching for the OPM group led by John Magai Yogi, fences and plants in the gardens of local residents were damaged and a number of houses in Pugo village were burned.
A number of shootings also occurred in the past month including on the 1 Jan when a gunman shot and wounded a man not far from the Papua Police headquarters. Malage Tabuni, 43, was waiting for a public minivan with four friends at he was shot in his right shoulder. A friend rushed him to Jayapura’s Dok II General Hospital, where he was treated.
On the January 10, an unidentified gunman shot dead a civilian and seriously injured a soldier in in the Puncak Jaya district. The Police sent a team to Mulia to investigate the shooting. Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said that the attack was launched by the armed gang behind several such attacks in the region.
On the 31 Jan a motorcycle driver was shot in the neck in Tigi Timur, in the district of Paniai. "We are still looking into the identity of the perpetrator. The shooter was a passenger of the motorcycle taxi and the name of the victim is Bahar, 28, who was shot in the neck," said Sr. Com. Agus Rianto, the head of the National Police general information department, on Friday. Bahar was left injured after the bullet went through his cheek and is currently being treated in a hospital in Paniai.
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) launched its Silver Jubilee celebrations in Port Vila on the 28 January. West Papuans and their supporters have been urging the MSG for years to grant full membership to West Papuan representatives at the MSG and especially since the MSG granted observer status to Indonesia. Community groups in Vanuatu remain opposed to the Melanesia Spearhead Group’s acceptance of Indonesia as an observer. “It’s seen as a slap in the face by NGOs in Vanuatu including the National Council of Chiefs, and women organisations and youth organisations in the country, because they have successfully mobilised the grassroots throughout the country to stand firm with the people of West Papua to demand independence for West Papua.” Len Garae. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=73682
AWPA’s press release re MSG at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/media-release-msg-silver-jubilee.html RNZI also reported that the Vanuatu Prime Minister said “he wants to see MSG maintaining strong support and effective dialogue for the principles of self-determination, in particular a closer monitoring of the implementation of the Noumea Accord in the interests of New Caledonia’s indigenous Kanak population.
The Vanuatu prime minister suggested he wants closer dialogue with other recognised pro-independence entities within the region and beyond.” A hopeful sign for West Papua.
The MSG will hold its summit in kanaky (New Caledonia) later in the year and hopefully West Papua will finally be granted full membership at the summit. The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) have submitted an application for MSG membership on the 30/01/2013 at the Head Quarters of the MSG in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Statement at http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/west-papua-national-coalition-for.html
Not the first time the ICG accuses the KNPB of being an extremist organization. In a paper “Papuan 'separatists' vs Jihadi 'terrorists': Indonesian policy dilemmas” Sidney Jones states "At the same time, some units of the OPM and an extremist faction of KNPB, the West Papua National Committee, a militant pro-independence organisation composed largely of activists from the central highlands, have moved toward more consciously creating a sense of fear in particular communities". http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/speeches/2013/jones-papuan-separatists.aspx
An excellent response to Sidney Jones article at
http://www.etan.org/news/2013/01response.htm The response is by Ed McWilliams who is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and who served as the Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta 1996-1999 Ed received the American Foreign Service Association’s Christian Herter Award for creative dissent by a senior foreign service official. He is a member of the West Papua Advocacy Team and a consultant with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).
OPM members surrender?
The police claimed that up to 200 members of the OPM under the command of Daniel Kogoya surrendered to authorities. There are a number of doubts about this claim with possible suggestions that most of those who claimed to be OPM members were actually refugees who had been living in Papua New Guinea, or farmers who had been gardening in the Kerom area and had been invited by the government and the military to participate in a meeting. Also, Daniel Kogoya were arrested in a hotel in Jayapura on the 2 September along with 22 members of the OPM. At that time police said Daniel Kogoya was treated at Bhayangkara hospital for wounds suffered after being shot in the leg while he was trying to escape.
Buchtar Tabuni of the KNPB was released on parole on the 19 Jan although he will have to report regularly to the police. His lawyer said he should have been released without conditions. He was greeted by hundreds of his supporters on release. One of his first actions was to visit the grave of Mako Tabuni who was killed by the security forces killed on the 14 June 2012.
A roundup of recent material about the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), January 2013 on the Down to Earth web page at
Article in Jakarta Globe “Destroying Local Livelihoods With Mifee”
An excellent report on West Papua on Al Jazeera at
The Pacific Freedom Forum said “Killing, beating, abducting and jailing journalists in West Papua remains the most immediate issue in regional affairs”. Wrapping up its fourth year of advocacy PFF chairs said that ongoing suppression of freedom of expression under Indonesian rule often involves violence against news media. “Well documented allegations of killings and torture depict medieval levels of brutality by Indonesian security and ad-hoc militia forces in West Papua”, says PFF chair Titi Gabi. http://www.pacificfreedomforum.org/2013/01/indonesia-brutality-towards-west-papua.html
Human Rights Watch released its World Report 2013 which assess the progress on human rights during the past year in over 90 countries
Extract from report on Indonesian“Impunity for members of Indonesia’s security forces remained a serious con- cern, with the military courts having a poor prosecution record and no civilian jurisdiction over soldiers who commit serious rights abuses. On June 6, over 300 soldiers from the 756th Battalion rampaged in the Papuan village of Wamena as a reprisal for an incident in which in which villagers beat to death two soldiers involved in a fatal traffic accident. Soldiers randomly fired their weapons into shopping areas, burned down 87 houses, stabbed 13 villagers, and killed a native Papuan civil servant. Although military officials on June 12 apologized for the incident and promised compensation, victims said military investigators failed to question them about the incident. They said rather than paying any compensation, the military has limited its response to the violence to a traditional Papuan “stone-burning” cer- emony and declared the case closed”. Full report at http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013
AWPA sent its report for 2012 to members of the Senate and House of Representatives in Canberra. Report at
The Australia Network News reported that the UNHCR was scaling back its operations in PNG, citing the growing expense of looking after refugees from the Indonesian province of Papua as the reason. The UNHCR has been providing protection and support to refugees from the Indonesian province of Papua for the last 28 years, including access to jobs, education and integration into PNG communities. An estimated 8000 refugees live in PNG's Western province, most of whom had fled neighbouring Indonesia in the mid 1980s.
West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda will be embarking on his first official overseas tour in February and March 2013. Having successfully fought to have an Interpol Red Notice against him removed, Benny is free to travel and more determined than ever to take the message of the West Papuan people around the world. Benny will visit political leaders, lawyers, activists and supporters in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to build support and awareness of the campaign for self-determination for the people of West Papua. More details will follow.