Arnold Belau¸ Jayapura – As many as 101 Mobile Brigade (Brimob, paramilitary police) personnel from the East Java regional police (Polda) were sent to West Papua on Monday May 16. The blue-beret troops were deployed with the primary duty of protecting the Freeport gold mine from all types of disturbances.
The Brimob troops being deployed to Papua were fare welled by East Java Deputy Police Chief (Wakapolda) Brigadier General Gatot Subroto at the Apel Polda square. “The Brimob members being sent will work with Papua Polda members for around six months”, said Subroto as reported by Viva News on Monday May 16.
The main task, said Subroto, will be to protect the Freeport gold mine from any kind of disturbances including disturbances by local separatist groups.
“In addition to [the troops] from East Java, Brimob members from Gorontalo [province] Polda will also be sent to Papua at the same time”, he was quoted as saying by Viva News on Tuesday May 17.
East Java Brimob unit head police Senior Commissioner Rudi Kristantyo explained that the biggest challenge facing the Brimob troops on duty at Freeport will be confronting separatist groups. “These separatist groups are trained in guerilla warfare”, he said.
Nevertheless, said Kristantyo, the Brimbo troops sent to Papua will be more than capable because they have been highly trained to carry out assaults. “The members who are BKO (under operational control) going to Papua have also been furnished with weapons”, he said.
The gold mine in Papua, which is managed by PT Freeport Indonesia, is said to be the largest in the world. Since beginning operations there has been support and opposition to the mining operation. Security disturbances by separatist groups have also been frequent.
Prior to these media reports, not long ago the Indonesian military (TNI) also sent 450 TNI members to Papua with the task of protecting and security the area around the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was 101 Personel Brimob Dikirim ke Papua untuk Jaga Areal Freeport.]