Jayapura – Several people from villages in Biak and Supiori, Papua, were reportedly arrested between January 4-7 by a joint unit of TNI (Indonesian military) and Indonesian police (Polri) without arrest warrants.
Based on information gathered by Suara Papua, the individuals were picked up on the grounds that they were involved in protest actions opposing the extension of Papuan Special Autonomy (Otsus), which will expire this year.
In addition to this, they were deemed to have supported the declaration of a provisional West Papuan administration by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) on December 1 last year.
When they were making the arrests, the security personnel claimed they were acting on the orders of the Biak regent.
Based on reports received by Suara Papua, several local priests and church staff were also visited and questioned, including the Manwor village chief.
Manwor villagers say they have been feeling intimidated by joint patrols by TNI and police from North Biak.
As well as being questioned, the TNI and police officers also asked the church council to make a statement supporting Papuan Special Autonomy.
The people arrested included three priests who were questioned by the North Biak sectoral police, one village head, and five civilians who were arrested and taken to the Sorndiweri district police in Supiori.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Sembilan Orang Dikabarkan Ditahan Aparat di Biak Karena Menolak Otsus".]