Conflict over TNI, police businesses triggered Freeport riot: Kontras

Source – March 20, 2006
Aftermath of riots in Abepura (BBC)
Aftermath of riots in Abepura (BBC)

Jakarta – The National Intelligence Agency (BIN) has accused non-government organisations (NGOs) of sponsoring the bloody incident in Abepura, West Papua. But NGOs are pointing the finger at conflicts over the provision of security businesses by the TNI (Indonesian military) and national police (Polri).

Large payments have been found to have been made by PT Freeport Indonesia to rogue elements of the TNI and Polri. The Abepura riot that killed three Mobile Brigade and one Airforce officer are suspected to be linked to conflicts over security businesses.

“I think that underlying the recent problems in Abepura there was a problem of conflicting business interests between the TNI and Polri in relation to the provision of security to vital installations at Freeport”, said the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Usman Hamid, at his office on Jl. Borobudur in Jakarta on Monday March 20.

Hamid cited as evidence the Global Witness report in July 2005 that said there were financial payments by Freeport to rogue elements of the TNI and Polri and military institutions such as the regional military command in 2001 of as much as US$5.6 million. “Isn’t that an irregularity. It could also be called a bribe”, said Hamid.

Hamid is of the view that an independent audit is needed of the monies Freeport has paid to the government, including money Freeport has paid for security services. “Government officials often say NGOs are foreign lackeys. But I think the government’s behaviour is far worse”, said Hamid.

As well as an independent audit continued Hamid, there needs to be a review of security systems in the provision of security for vital installations. “It must emphasise the transfer of security tasks for vital installations to the national police”, asserted Hamid. (sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]