OPM warns civilians to leave conflict areas, not to trust TNI-Polri assurances

CNN Indonesia – June 25, 2021
Indonesian soldiers on patrol in West Papua – Undated (Sindo News)

Jakarta – The West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Organisation (TPNPB-OPM) has warned the Papuan people not to trust that the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian police) can provide them with security guarantees in the region.

OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom said that they have sounded the drums of war against the security forces so civilian population that are still in certain areas could become casualties.

"You (the civilian population) shouldn't listen to the orders by the TNI-Polri saying 'We guarantee [the safety of] the civilian population', there's no such guarantee, the TNI-Polri are deceiving you", said Sambom in a video release received by journalists on the evening of Friday June 25.

Sambom is asking the civilian populations from all groups to leave regions which the OPM has designated as war zones. He said that there a several such conflict areas including Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Ndugama, the Bintang Highlands and Yahukimo.

Sambom said that yes, the OPM which has been labeled as a terrorist organisation, will not be responsible for civilians that die.

"If you're a construction worker, a motorcycle taxi driver, all of you [must] leave conflict areas. Because we cannot be responsible for your lives, we have warned you. But you listen to the TNI-Polri which deceives you by saying they guarantee [your safety], they are deceiving you", said Sambom.

In response to this, Joint Defense Area Command III (Kogabwilhan III) spokesperson Colonel Czi Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa said that the OPM's call is nothing more than a deception which has been endlessly repeated by the group.

He emphasised that there are no regions in Papua which are war zones. According to Suriastawa, every incident which has occurred is due to the OPM terrorist movement. Moreover, the TNI claims that the OPM is becoming increasingly isolated.

"Let them (the OPM) say what they want. Up until now, there are no conflict areas that are war zones, what there is the OPM terrorist movement which is increasingly being squeezed because their capacity to move [is limited because] they are constantly being pursued by TNI-Polri personnel", said Suriastawa when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Friday evening.

He said that the Papuan people are increasingly showing their opposition to armed separatist groups which the government has now designated as terrorists.

According to Suriastawa the public is no longer influenced by the propaganda of the OPM which acts outside of the law and even kills Papuan, its own people.

"This shows just how angry the ordinary people are at seeing the brutality and arbitrary actions of the OPM", he asserted.

Earlier, an armed group is alleged to have fired on five construction workers working on the Kuk River Bridge in Samboga village, Seradala district, Yahukimo regency, on Thursday June 24. Four of the five have been declared dead while the surviving victim is being treated for injuries sustained from broken glass.

During the incident, an armed group numbering around 30 fired on a convoy of trucks carrying workers. They were attacked with a variety of weapons including knives, arrows, machetes, samurai swards and rifles. Based on the witness testimonies gathered by police, four other workers are being held hostage by the armed group at an unknown location. (mjo/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "OPM Tuding Aparat Abaikan Warga, TNI Sebut Gertakan Teroris".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210626064743-12-659644/opm-tuding-aparat-abaikan-warga-tni-sebut-gertakan-teroris