TNI chief: No increase in security disturbances in Papua

Media Indonesia – February 11, 2006
TNI chief General Endriartono Sutarto (Pos Kota News)
TNI chief General Endriartono Sutarto (Pos Kota News)

Ratna Nuraini, Jakarta – TNI (Indonesian military) chief General Endriartono Sutarto has revealed that there has been no increase in security disturbances in Papua. This is based on a study conducted by the TNI.

Sutarto conveyed this on Friday February 10 at the TNI national headquarters in Cilangkap. “In fact the TNI views the developments in terms of security disturbances as insignificant. Rather, the disturbances are political disturbances from a group of people that want to separate themselves [from Indonesia]”, he said.

According to Sutarto, it is because of this that the TNI will not be increasing its security forces in the province. He conveyed this in relation to questions about the request by 43 Papuan to seek asylum in Australia.

“There are no grounds for them to request asylum. Several of them have in fact been detained in relation to raising the Melanesia Brother [sic] flag. So [claims of] being pursued doesn’t make sense”, he said.

In relation to Australia’s attitude towards the asylum seekers, Sutarto admitted to also having raised questions over the matter. In Sutarto’s view Australia’s handling of the cases of asylum seekers from Afghanistan is different from West Papua.

“Why is there a difference in the handling of Afghanistan cases and this one. Whereas in both [cases] I don’t thing there is anything that could be a reason to say that they need to obtain amnesty and legal treatment”, he said.

Although TNI forces in Papua will not be augmented, Sutarto said that the TNI would continue to deploy its personnel to provide security at vital installations. This follows the government’s decision to order the TNI to assist in providing security to vital installations.

“There was a request from Freeport to the police to provide security. The Indonesian police then felt they needed the TNI at Freeport. So there was an order from the Minister for Security, Political and Legal Affairs for the TNI to assist the Indonesian police in the framework of providing security for Freeport. That was the legal umbrella”, he said. (Nur/OL-06)

[Translated by James Balowski.]