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Meeting between military and civil society in Manokwari

Another important news update from TAPOL.

Report received from LP3BH, Institute for Analysing, Investigation and Development of Human Aid

A meeting convened by the local military commander, Lt.Col Irham Waroihanwas which was held in Manokwari on 28 November was attended by local military officers, local civil society leaders and representatives of NGOs.

Opening the meeting, the military commander said the aim of the meeting was to exchange thoughts in connection with the plan of the President to visit Manokwari on 20 December, and possible developments in the area on 1 and 14 December. He urged all those present to keep in communication with each other so as to avoid mutual suspicions and to ensure that any developments could be resolved peacefully, without resort to violence.

The local chief of police, Pit Wahyu, said that the most important thing was for all sides to communicate with each other and to preserve peace and security. He said that the police would use the persuasive approach should any misdemeanours occur and that they would resort to the law while taking preventive measures.

The bupati, Dominggus Mandacan said that the situation in Manokwari is peaceful and that there were three dates that local people were always concerned about, 27 November, 1 December and 14 December, although since 1998 nothing unusual had happened on these dates. It was therefore important to hold face-to-face meetings to ensure that there was communications between the government, the military, the police, non-governmental organisations and journalists.

The meeting was also attended by the chairman of the local Dewan Adat, the chairman of the local youth organisation, the chairman of the local branch of Muhammadiyah, and the chairman of Pemuda Pancasila.

Besides local military officers, the meeting was also attended by journalists from the print and electronic media, the chief of West Papua intelligence (BIN) and intelligence officers from several local military units.

Barnabas Mandacan of Dewan Adat, and Obed Arik Ayok of Muhammadiyah said there was no reason to fear that anything would happen on 1 and 14 December, and expressed the hope that nothing would happen to prevent the President’s visit to West Papua from taking place.

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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