Army chief: Don’t hesitate to crush separatist groups

Kompas – June 22, 2005
Army Chief of Staff General Djoko Santoso (Kabar)
Army Chief of Staff General Djoko Santoso (Kabar)

Jayapura – If there are armed separatist groups in society which want to separate West Papua from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), the TNI (armed forces) must not hesitate to crush them. Every single member of the TNI must continue to build self-integrity, professionalism and develop cooperation with the public in the framework of integrating the TNI into society.

These remarks were made by army chief General Djoko Santoso during a ceremony at the Trikora XVII Regional Military Command headquarters in Jayapura on Tuesday June 21. Santoso was presiding over the transfer of command from Major-General Nurdin Zainal MM to Major-General George Toisutta Zainal who will become an intelligence aide for the TNI’s general chief of staff.

During the event, which was attended by the governor of West Papua and other local government officials, Santoso explained that the territory of West Papua is vast, 3.5 times the size of Java Island, but its infrastructure is extremely limited. Geographic conditions make it difficult to traverse by land while it has a direct boarder with its neighboring country, Papua New Guinea.

In the framework of empowering society, every soldier from the Trikora command is being called on to continue to develop creativity, innovation and to have the highest respect for humanitarian values. The Trikora command must emerge as the motivator to develop the region. “Solicit all parties which exist in the region to support the government’s development program”, said Santoso.

Referring to specific parties (the Free Papua Movement – Editor), the army chief asserted that those who are clearly seeking to destroy national unity through systematic efforts, including conducting an armed struggle to disrupt social peace and even to separate from NKRI “I order all soldiers from the Trikora Regional Military Command, to never hesitant in acting resolutely. Uphold the integrity and sovereignty of NKRI in accordance with prevailing laws”.

Members of the TNI from the Trikora command must continue to increase vigilance by constantly paying close attention to and anticipating developments in the situation, especially with regard to the threat of disturbances from within and outside the country. (kor)

[Translated by James Balowski.]