The Indonesian army said that it had launched no military action in reaction to recent attacks and ambushes by alleged separatist Free Papua Organization (OPM) members.
He said the TNI (military) Manunggal Masuk Desa (the military go to and unite in village-TMMD) civic mission was deliberately carried out in Puncak Jaya in view of the infrastructure and social conditions in the region, which are quite concerning, such as bike-taxi service centers, churches and “honai” traditional houses.
“The TMDD activity in Papua is the same as that done in any other region in the country such as infrastructure development, construction of public and social facilities especially in remote regions, backward villages and regions hit by natural disasters,” he said.
So, he said, the activities done by the army are not military operations and there is no military operation in Papua.
The new army chief of staff said in response to recent security development in Papua marked by several incidents of attacks on military posts and ambushes on military members he would increase patrols and alertness.
“Efforts to ‘clean up’ armed OPM members would be done intensively by local units as the territorial units as well,” he said.
Asked about the strength of the group he said he could not predict because they spread in various places and mingle with local population.
“They sometimes emerge and then vanish. So, until now we cannot predict about their exact number,” he said.
What is clear is, he said, the TNI would continue hunting them down as their activities are linked to national security and sovereignty.
“Automatically we will keep chasing them, as what they have done has to do with sovereignty,” he said.(*WPNN)