Jakarta – The parties taking advantage of the riots in Papua and West Papua are starting to be revealed. The Indonesian police (Polri) suspect that these groups have links with international networks.
Indonesian police Chief (Kapolri) General Tito Karnavian says that based on intelligence reports, foreign parties were involved in the string of riots in Papua. The police are coordinating with stakeholders, particularly the Foreign Affairs Department (Kemlu), to address the involvement of these foreign parties.
“There is, there is (foreign party involvement). We know that groups [in Indonesia] have a relationship with international networks. So we must indeed deal with them both domestically as well as internationally. We are cooperating with the Ibu Menlu [the Foreign Affairs Minister] and intelligence networks”, said Karnavian during a Women’s Police 71st anniversary event at the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters in Jakarta on Sunday September 1.
The TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri along with related stakeholders are mapping out the extent of this foreign involvement, a problem which needs to be dealt with comprehensively.
“This must be dealt with comprehensively. We are currently mapping it out. The police, intelligence networks and various related institutions are already working on it. Essentially, we’re unable to convey all of it here. This [involves] international diplomacy”, said national police public relations information division head Inspector General Mohammad Iqbal.
Benefiting from the riots
The existence of parties taking advantage of the riots in Papua was conveyed by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Wiranto following a limited meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Wiranto said that these parties are attempting to benefit from the riots.
“We have received a report from the Kapolri and the Panglima [TNI chief] that there are parties which are taking advantage of, stoking, provoking these riots. There are parties which are intentionally creating chaos”, said Wiranto at the presidential office in Jakarta on Friday August 30.
When asked which parties are attempting to benefit from the riots, Wiranto said that they suspect that they are overseas non-government organisations (NGOs). “These overseas parties are in fact mostly from NGOs”, said Wiranto.
For the moment, the situation in Papua and West Papua has returned to normal. Additional troops deployed to Papua will be withdrawn when the situation is truly favourable.
Foreign affairs response
Responding to Karnavian’s statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Kemlu) says that there are several individuals in these overseas networks.
“Certainly there are a number of individuals who are residing overseas and campaigning for separatism on behalf of our sisters and brothers in Papua”, Foreign Affairs Department acting spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah told journalists on Sunday.
Faizasyah said that the Foreign Affairs Department is coordinating and communicating with other countries on the presence of individuals campaigning for separatism on behalf of the Papuan people. “Yes of course there is communication”, he said.
House demands firm action
House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I Deputy Chairperson Satya Widya Yudha has called on Karnavian to immediately reveal the overseas groups involved in the riots. He is also asking that the police investigate this international network.
“We are asking [Karnavian] to reveal if these international network are related to Benny Wenda’s movement, which has up until now clearly sought to separate [Papua] from Indonesia, or for us to obtain information on other networks, lest they are supplying weapons, we’re asking the state to conduct an investigation into this”, Yudha told journalists on Sunday.
In addition to this, Yudha is asking the government to act firmly in dealing with these international groups and networks and to prevent them from entering Indonesia. For example international groups entering Indonesia disguised as NGOs.
The Golkar Party politician further said that if these international networks can be uncovered it can be discovered whether or not they have links with the Free Papua Movement (OPM). Because of this therefore, the police must quickly reveal these international networks to the public.
“So immediately reveal publically what the links to these international groups are. Are they terrorists, or a group that wants Papua to separate from Indonesia, like before in East Timor. So the [police] must be clear, help us ask Kapolri to immediately clarify this publically”, explained Yudha.
[Abridged translation by James Balowski based on three articles by Detik.com on September 2. The original title of the lead article was “Ternyata Ada Jaringan Mancanegara saat Rusuh di Papua”.]