Government accuses OPM of exploiting racism against Papuans to ferment riots

Detik News – August 22, 2019
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko speaks to reporters (Detik)
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko speaks to reporters (Detik)

Noval Dhwinuari Antony, Jakarta – Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko believes that there is an armed group and political axis that is exploiting the issue of racism to ferment riots in Papua. The Free Papua Movement (OPM) is one of them.

“This is a paradox, on the one hand Pak [Mr] Jokowi [President Joko Widodo] wants to develop Papua to quickly to bring prosperity to the Papuan people, the same (as other regions), quickly improve things for the better, and this is being enjoyed by some of the Papuan people, but as it turns out there are certain groups both from the armed axis movement as well as the political axis movement, who actually feel disturbed and there is very real anxiety about it”, said Moeldoko when speaking at his office in Central Jakarta on Thursday August 22.

Moeldoko was responding to the issue of racism which has been cited as the cause of the riots in West Papua province over the last few days.

Moeldoko says that this armed group and the political axis do not want Papua to advance because if Papua develops they will not have any issues suitable to sell overseas.

“As an example, these armed groups, as a region is developed, the people’s welfare improves, so the level of influence of these armed groups among the people declines”, he said.

Likewise in the case of the political axis group. According to Moeldoko if Papua advances then these groups will not have any issues to sell to the Papuan people who are marginalised.

“There is an indicator, when development is underway its always disrupted. After education infrastructure developments [teachers] have been abducted. Right now we also see that there are efforts like this, buildings which should be protected are burn down. This is one of the indicators which is very clear”, he insisted.

Moeldoko asserted that there is a real anxiety among these armed and political axis groups who do not want development in Papua. Moeldoko also explained that the OPM is one of these groups.

“It’s already clear right, this is the OPM group, the group I mentioned earlier, there’s a political group, there’s an armed group, there’s a political axis”, he said.

One of the ways in which the riots in Papua are being exploited by these groups is to fly the Morning Star independence flag in the midst of the riots.

“I think that indeed there are groups exploiting this situation. It’s clear who they are. They’re manipulating the situation that’s taking place, but praise be to Allah with full awareness the people as it turns out were not drawn into their plot, [government] officials have been very wise and capable”, said Moeldoko.

Moeldoko believes that the OPM axis is capitalising on the issue of racism so the riots which they have sparked to give the impression of having a clear reason for happening. “Yes, they’re exploiting it”, said the former armed forces chief.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Moeldoko: OPM Cemas Hilang Pengaruh, Manfaatkan Rasisme untuk Rusuh”.]