Papuan council calls on Yudhoyono to stop military operations in Papua

Kompas – October 21, 2004
Indonesian soldiers on patrol in West Papua (Militer)
Indonesian soldiers on patrol in West Papua (Militer)

Jakarta, Kompas – As many as four people and a priest in the Puncak Jaya regency of West Papua were killed by shots suspected to have been fired from a TNI (armed forces) helicopter. Fearing for their lives as many as 500 people living in and around the area where the shooting occurred have sought refuge on Wijaya Mountain.

As a result of the incident two members of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) from West Papua, Ferdinanda Ibo Yatipae and Pendeta Max Demetouw, are calling on Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) as the new president to stop military operations which are indiscriminate and short sighted.

“We ask Pak SBY not to increase the number of TNI troops in Papua province. We also ask that firing on people from helicopters which are like the actions of a blind pig be stopped immediately because there are civilians being caught in the middle. If they really [want to] pursue the OPM [Free Papua Movement], then okay pursue the OPM”, explained Yatipae at the DPD building in Jakarta on Wednesday October 20.

He is also asking the government to provide food, medicines and blankets for those who have sought refuge on Puncak Jaya which is locate close to the snowline. Yatipae and Demetouw said that they had only just received information about the shooting yesterday morning from the deputy head of Papuan Traditional Council, Leo Imbiri, and the Puncak Jaya deputy regent, Enembe. It has been difficult to confirm the exact location of the incident because of communication problems.

Demetouw is asking the new government to immediately implement special autonomy for Papua because this issue was campaigned on by Yudhoyono and Vice-President Jusuf Kalla during the election. “Within the next 100 days, SBY-JK [Kalla] must sign the government regulation on the implementation of special autonomy for Papua”, he asserted. (sut)

[Translated by James Balowski.]