Juhra Nasir, Tambrauw – Police have arrested 19 West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activists in Tambrauw regency, Southwest Papua province on Friday after they announced or proclaimed Papuan independence.
"Yes, that's correct, we arrested 19 activists", West Papua regional police chief (Kapolda) Inspector General Daniel Monang Silitonga told Detik.com on Saturday June 10.
The activists were arrested at the Sarwom Village in Bamusbama district on Friday June 9 at around 4 pm local time. Initially the KNPB activists were proclaiming the establishment of a KNPB branch but then they proclaimed independence.
Silitonga said that they had been observing the KNPB activists for some time prior to their arrest.
"The arrests were made when they proclaimed the establishment of the KNPB and then proclaimed independence. They tried to resist but there were more of us because we were backed up by the TNI [Indonesian military]", he said.
Silitonga continued saying they also confiscated a KNPB flag, stripped KNPB military fatigues, a bow and machete. They are now conducting an initial investigation.
"This is still an initial investigation. We will also look into whether or not they were also involved in an attack in Kisor or other rebellions. The regional police are still investigating, because it's not easy, usually they keep changing their names and they look almost alike", he said.
Silitonga believes that law and order in Tambrauw regency has been safe and secure up until now but the public has been provoked and influenced by improper invitations by the group.
"I appeal to all members of the public not be provoked and influenced because the administration is running well, what else do you want", he said.
Names of the KNPB members that were arrested:
1. Yerimias Yesnat (43)
2. Wenan Yeblo (22)
3. Daut Yesnat (24)
4. Kariopas Yesnat (46)
5. Agus Yesnat (27)
6. Ateng Yekwam (18)
7. Ruben Yekwam (25)
8. Niko Yekwam (47)
9. Simson YesYan (47)
10. Wilem Yekwam (25)
11. Matius Sufi (23)
12. Paulus Sufi (18)
13. Lukas Yesnat (27)
14. Lambertus akamuri (23)
15. Apolos akamuri (27)
16. Roman Sufi (15)
17. Yokobus bame (43)
18. Lusi Sufi (25)
19. Stefanus Sufi (31) from Asiti Village, Kebar district.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "19 Aktivis KNPB Proklamasi Kemerdekaan di Tambrauw Papua Barat Ditangkap".]