TNI claims Papua governor ‘breaking the law’ with request for Nduga troop withdrawal

CNN Indonesia – December 21, 2018
Pro-independence rally in Central Jakarta – December 19, 2018 (CNN)
Pro-independence rally in Central Jakarta – December 19, 2018 (CNN)

Jakarta – Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command (Kodam) public relations head Infantry Colonel Muhammad Aidi says that Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (LE) and the Papuan Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) should not be calling for the withdrawal of TNI-Polri (Indonesian military-national police) troops from Nduga regency in Papua.

He says that if the TNI-Polri withdraws their troops, security forces could be accused of negligence because, according to Aidi, gross legal violations have occurred in Nduga and the law needs to be enforced there.

“So I think that it is inappropriate for the governor and the DPR[D] speaker as well as other parties to ask that TNI-Polri security personnel be withdrawn from Nduga in an area where gross legal violations have taken place and the law must be enforced”, said Aidi in a written release on Friday December 21.

Aidi asserted that the presence of TNI-Polri troops in Nduga is necessary for them to carry out their principle duty of protecting and safeguarding Indonesia’s territory. He stated that separatist groups in Papua have committed human rights violations and oppose the sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

In addition to this, Aidi notes that there are four PT Istaka Karya construction workers whose fate is unknown and are still missing and that they are still trying to determine the whereabouts of these four victims. Aidi also insists that the TNI will not withdraw its troops from Nduga regency.

“Moreover [how would they feel] if they hear that the TNI-Polri have stopped looking for them because of an order from the governor and the DPR[D]? Where is their conscience as creations of God and moreover as leaders? The Kodam XVII/Cenderawasi will not withdraw its troops from Nduga regency”, he insisted.

Aidi believes that the request to withdraw the troops shows that the governor and the DPRP do not understand their basic duties and functions as leaders and representatives of the people.

He said that Enembe should act in accordance with Law Number 23/2013 on Regional Administration in which the policy of regional heads is to defend and maintain the integrity of the NKRI and to implement the national strategic program.

“If Governor LE takes a position of supporting the struggle of Free Papua separatists and rejects the national strategic program policy then LE is breaking the country’s laws and should be prosecuted in accordance with the law”, he said.

Aidi said that the presence of TNI-Polri troops in Papua is not to frighten let alone kill Papuan people.

“So the people don’t need to feel upset about the presence of the TNI-Polri in Mbua and the Yigi Complex. The ones that [should] feel upset are the criminals whose hands are smeared with sin who have slaughtered civilians who cannot protect themselves”, he said.

Earlier Governor Enembe asked President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to withdraw all TNI and Polri troops and personnel from Nduga in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year. Enembe made the request after taking part in the 5th plenary meeting at the DPRP in Jayapura city.

“As the governor of Papuan I am asking President Jokowi to withdraw all the troops that are in Nduga, because communities want to celebrate Christmas”, said Enembe as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Thursday December 20.

According to Enembe the request has received endorsement from the DPRP leadership and members, the Papuan People’s Council (MRP), church and customary leaders, human rights activist, the regency government and the people of Nduga.

“The presence of TNI and Polri personnel in Nduga is not appropriate in the lead up to Christmas celebrations, so it would be best if they are withdrawn from Nduga regency. The people want to celebrate Christmas. It’s the Christmas season, the TNI and Polri shouldn’t be there [in Nduga]”, he said.

Enembe said that in relation to the Trans Papua construction workers killed by the Papuan National Liberation Army (TPN) in Nduga on December 2, the government plans to form an independent team to find out what happened. He hopes that there will be no more violence against the people of Nduga.

“The team will be made up of [representatives] from the DPRP, Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission] and the government, they will be divided up and sent to Nduga, as soon as possible”, said Enembe.

DPRP Speaker Yunus Wonda said that the independent team would not involve members of the security forces in the hope that the findings of the investigation can be maximised.

“Security personnel will not be involved in the team. The independent team will work to uncover what happened in Nduga. Particularly in encouraging local people who have fled into the forests to return to their respective homes”, he said.

The governor will personally lead the team. They will also involve a team of healthcare workers and psychologies to provide trauma counseling for Nduga residents. (rzr/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “TNI: Gubernur Papua Tak Pantas Minta Tarik Pasukan dari Nduga”.]