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Military presence in Papua vital to development agenda: Papua leaders

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) – Commander of the Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III, Lt.Gen.Agus Rohman said, religious, customary, and community leaders in Timika, Mimika district have agreed that Indonesian military presence is necessary for Papua’s development.

The meeting with local leaders was part of Rohman’s agenda during his visit to Timika to review the progress of construction of the Kogabwilhan headquarters on Tuesday, according to a press release that ANTARA received here the same day.

To meet the request of local residents, construction work on the Kogabwilhan headquarters and supporting facilities would be accelerated, Rohman said, adding that the military headquarters would hopefully be completed by August this year.

“Soon after its completion, it can then be inaugurated. That’s why, I hope its construction work can be accelerated,” he said.

During his visit, Rohman also observed a COVID-19 vaccination drive and swab testing at an army hospital in Timika, the capital of Mimika district.

Over the last few years, armed Papuan groups have used hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel and unleashed acts of terror against civilians in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak to instill fear among the people.

The recent targets of such acts have included construction workers, motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, teachers, students, street food vendors, and even civilian aircraft.

On April 25, 2021, Papuan separatists operating in Beoga ambushed State Intelligence Agency (Papua) chief, Maj. Gen. I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, and several security personnel when they visited Dambet village.

Following Nugraha’s fatal shooting, President Joko Widodo directed the TNI and National Police to track down and arrest the members of all separatist and terrorist groups operating in Papua, stressing there is no place for them within Indonesian territory.

In response to the ongoing security disturbances, People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo has warned that the state must not allow armed separatists to continue to terrorize communities in Papua.

It must ensure that Papuans’ rights to enjoy the outcomes of development programs in the country’s easternmost province are not disrupted and hijacked by continued acts of terror, he stressed.

The State Constitution mandates that the government ensure Indonesian provinces, including Papua, see development so that all people can prosper, Soesatyo said in a recent statement.

However, ongoing security disturbances created by separatist terrorists are impeding the government’s efforts to bring prosperity to all Papuans, he added.

“It will not be easy to develop Papua if the armed Papuan terrorists’ acts of terror against innocent civilians there get intensified and escalate,” he cautioned.

To defend the right of the Papuan people to enjoy the outcomes of development, TNI and National Police personnel must remain present in Papua, Soesatyo said.

The areas of Ilaga, Nduga, Kenyam, and Intan Jaya remain vulnerable due to the threat posed by separatist terrorists, he added.

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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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