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Indonesia Suspects Rebels' Weapons Purchase Foreign-Funded

Augsut 8, 2011

Indonesia Suspects Weapons Purchase for Rebels Funded by Foreigners - Paper

Text of report by Bilal Ramadhan headlined "Police Suspect Foreign Involvement in OPM's Weapon Funding" published by Indonesian newspaper Republika website on 8 August

Police suspect that foreigners have provided funds for the procurement of weapons of the Free Papua Organization (OPM). So far, the police are still hunting the perpetrators of the attacks on civilians and the helicopter shooting.

Ins Gen Anton Bachrul Alam, head of the Republic of Indonesia Police (Polri) Public Relations Division, revealed the suspected foreign funding of the OPM. "There are indications (of foreign funding)," Anton said on Saturday, 6 August. According to him, the suspicion is based on the fact that members of the organization that seeks to establish a Papua state have often used firearms to attack Polri and the Indonesian military (TNI).

Police continue to conduct the manhunt to arrest OPM members who are believed to be hiding in the mountain and forest near the border region. The investigation is led by Polri General Supervision Inspector Com Gen Fajar Prihantono, and Ins Gen Bekto Suprapto, deputy chief of Polri Criminal Investigation Agency and a former Papua Police Chief.

The situation in Papua is getting 'heated' ahead of the Indonesian Independence Day commemoration. First, several people believed to be OPM members attacked local residents. The incident killed four people. Another incident involved the shooting at the Indonesian Army's MI-17 helicopter. The heated situation, Anton said, was inseparable from the existence of a group of people that revived the idea of a referendum for Papua. They held the International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) conference in Oxford, London.

Local Election Turmoil

Meanwhile, as regards the turmoil during a local election in Ilaga, Puncak Regency, Papua that killed 19 people, police would soon name suspects in the incident. "There are eight witnesses whom we have interrogated in order to identify the perpetrators," said Polri Criminal Investigation Agency Chief Ins Gen Sutarman on Saturday, 6 August.

The riot started when one of the district chief candidates, Simon Alom, registered with the Election Commission (KPU) on 30 July 2011. The KPU rejected him because the Gerindra party that initially supported him canceled its support and shifted it to another candidate, Elvis Tabuni. Alom's supporters became furious and attacked the supporters of Thomas Tabuni, chairman of Gerindra's Puncak District Executive Council.

ENDS

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