Monthly Archives: September 2012

Papua’s New Police Chief Vows to Touch the Hearts of Papuans

Papua’s new police chief vowed to take a grassroots approach to stopping the violence that has plagued this restive province during his swearing in ceremony on Friday.

Papua's Regional Police Chief, Insp.Gen. Tito Karnavian “I will approach the Papuan society at the grassroots level,” Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said. “This is a matter of hearts that we have to touch. I don’t think my background will be a problem because when we talk of matters of the heart, we no longer differentiate between ethnicity, religion or race.”

Tito Karnavian, 47, holds a masters degree in strategic studies and a certificate in terrorism studies from the Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

He replaced outgoing chief Insp. General Bigman Lumban Tobing in a ceremony at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Friday.

Tito told the crowd that the region’s violence can be curbed through enforcement.

He declined to detail the department’s plan for addressing a recent spate of violent attacks near Freeport MacMoRan’s Grasberg mine.

“Give me time. This needs to be evaluated,” Tito said.

Free Papua Organization (OPM) gunmen have opened fire on Indonesian Military (TNI) and Freeport security vehicles twice in recent weeks.

Indonesia has been fighting against an insurgency waged by armed pro-independence groups like OPM since 1963.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Papua, Separatism

The US plans $1.4-billion arms package for Indonesia

The Obama administration is proposing a potential $1.4-billion arms package for Indonesia, including eight Boeing Co Apache AH-64D attack helicopters, in a fresh tightening of security ties in a region rattled by China’s growing territorial assertiveness.

The deal would include fire control radars, common missile warning systems, radar signal detecting sets and 140 state-of-the-art Lockheed Martin Corp Hellfire II AGM-114R precision-strike missiles, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to the U.S. Congress published Friday.

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most populous country and the world’s most populous Muslim-majority state. Plans for several U.S. arms transfers to it have been announced since late last year that would make Jakarta a more militarily capable regional partner.

Indonesia would use the twin-engine Apache helicopters to defend its borders, conduct counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, “and control the free flow of shipping through the Strait of Malacca,” the security agency said in its memo.

The proposed sale would provide Indonesia assets vital to deterring external and other potential threats, the Pentagon agency said.

The narrow and congested waterway is a potential choke point linking the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean. The shortest sea route between the Middle East and growing Asian markets, it washes the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and carries about 40 percent of the world’s trade.

Piracy, including attempted theft and hijackings, is a constant threat to tankers, though the number of attacks has dropped following stepped-up patrols by the littoral states.

REGIONAL SECURITY

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced the planned Apache sale on Thursday without providing details on the rest of the arms package, said it would boost a comprehensive partnership with Indonesia and enhance security across the region.

She spoke in Washington during a meeting with visiting Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

Indonesia represents just part of an increasing U.S. emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region for national security planning as China presses its claims on disputed territory, notably in the South China Sea.

The United States is also building Guam as a strategic hub, deploying up to four shore-hugging littoral combat ships on a rotational basis to Singapore and preparing a 2,500-strong Marine Corps task force rotation as part of a growing military partnership with Australia.

The arms and services called for under the $1.4 billion Indonesia package will provide key elements required for “interoperability” with U.S. forces, the security agency’s notice said.

Also included are “Identification Friend or Foe transponders,” 30mm guns and ammunition, communication equipment, tools and test equipment, simulators, generators, personnel training and logistics support services, the agency said.

The Hellfire II, included in the package, is the primary air-to-ground precision missile of its size for U.S. armed forces as well as the Central Intelligence Agency’s paramilitary capabilities and many U.S. allies.

The notice of such a sale is required by law. It does not mean that a deal has been concluded.

President Barack Obama announced in November plans to give Indonesia 24 decommisioned Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets, with Jakarta paying up $750 million to upgrade them and overhaul their engines, which are made by United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney unit.

The Pentagon moved in August to supply Raytheon Co AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground guided missiles and related gear valued at $25 million for Indonesia’s growing F-16 fleet.

Source: Reuters

1 Comment

Filed under Military

Interview with UP4B chief: Government paves the roads with good intentions in Papua

The Jakarta Post interviewed Bambang Darmono, chief of the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B).

The Jakarta Post (JP): Many people relate increasing violence in Papua to unequal development in the province. What do you think?

Chief of UP4B Bambang Darmono

Chief of UP4B, Bambang Darmono

Bambang Darmono (BD): I reject such a notion. I admit there are development programs in Papua that have not properly been executed, that is why President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established the UP4B. The job of the UP4B is to coordinate, synchronize, facilitate, evaluate and monitor all the government’s development programs there. It is our responsibility to ensure that programs designed by central government in Jakarta fit the needs of the Papuan people. Our job is also to bring together all desks on Papua within all ministries and make sure that they all are in line with the grand design. Also, we have agents in all districts in Papua to help us connect with, and monitor, the people.

JP: What do you do to make sure that Jakarta and Papua stay connected? How do you work to assess the needs of the locals?

BD: We have around Rp 4 trillion [US$420 million] of funds this year. Some of the money is spent coordinating with our partners, including ministers, and we’ve allocated 75 percent for missions to Papua to monitor the area. I have visited all the districts, and I will keep visiting to keep abreast of the situation.

Through such trips, we get opinions and information from local administrations as well as from the people at large. We maintain our communication with them so that we know for example if people have an interest in cultivating coffee beans or farming groupers. Then we take their proposals to the related ministries in Jakarta to cultivate interest in the programs in Papua.

The House of Representatives Commission I [overseeing defense, foreign affairs, and information] recently criticized the UP4B for doing almost nothing since its establishment in October last year. Can you please share what you have done in Papua?

We are not obliged to tell you what we have done in Papua. We have created a website to provide updates about our programs. You can search for any information they need there. You must understand that our authority is limited. We are working with ministries like public works, education and culture, or the Health Ministry to carry out programs there, and we are ready to implement several programs this year.

For example, together with the Public Works Ministry we will improve the infrastructure. We will build roads to connect villages and districts.

We will also support community based economic projects especially in remote areas. Over and above this, we are finishing a Presidential Regulation to guarantee Papuan entrepreneurs equal access to the economy because they don’t have it yet. The regulation lets Papuans actively improve the economy of their region, which is mostly managed by outsiders for the time being.

In addition, the government has programs to provide quality education for the locals.

The Education and Culture Ministry has agreed to set aside 963 places at 32 state universities across the country for Papuan students. Around 747 students have registered. These students will undergo up to a year’s training to help teach at schools across the province due to the limited number of teachers available. The ministry has agreed to house 1,000 students. We are proposing another 1,500 students.

In terms of health, we are working on improving mobile health services and health centers for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Overall, things are going to be much better in Papua.

JP: What are the challenges in coordinating with other government institutions, including ministries, to carry out your programs in Papua?

BD: I don’t find any serious problem with that. We have the Vice President as our leader so he cares of things when they get tough. The government has good intentions. We just need better communication.

JP: What do you think about human rights violation in Papua? What can UP4B do to minimize them?

BD: All countries commit human rights violations. I guarantee that not one single country in the world that fully promotes and upholds human rights. I think, Indonesia is relatively good in handling this issue compared to countries, like Syria.

There are problems in Papua, but I don’t focus on them. Improvements across the board are on the way. The government is committed to them. Trust me, life is getting better there. Protection and prosperity for the people comes through dialogue with all stakeholders in Papua. We are always open to dialogue on social issues in Papua. But, we will not talk about Papua’s integration into Indonesia — there is nothing else to discuss. Papua belongs to Indonesia. Those who disagree may leave the country.

Source: The Jakarta Post

2 Comments

Filed under Development, Papua, Separatism

Britain Promises to Protect Yudhoyono From ‘Citizen’s Arrest’

The British government has promised to guarantee the safety of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his planned visit to the United Kingdom in October, following the announcement of a reward offer for anyone able to arrest him during the visit.

“We’ve got an assurance from the police in Great Britain that they won’t let such a thing happen, and that [the president’s security] will be fully guaranteed by the British authorities,” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Wednesday in Jakarta.

Julian was speaking in response to an announcement made by the UK-based West Papua pro-independence group Free West Papua Campaign, which offered a 50,000 British pound ($81,000) reward to anyone who places Yudhoyono under “citizen’s arrest” during his visit to Britain, scheduled for Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

The group accuses Yudhoyono of human rights offenses in his handling of the restive Papua provinces.

Julian said the reward offer had caused “discomfort,” as Yudhoyono planned his visit at the invitation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

“The British government and especially the British queen have invited the president [to come] because he is known to be a figure who has played a significant role in advancing democracy in Indonesia,” Julian said.

“To be honest, this is uncomfortable for us. … The reward offer to arrest the president is considered an insult to a state symbol, especially because it is made by a group of people who probably have certain political interests,” he added.

Julian said, however, that the Indonesian government had yet to decide whether it would take any action against the group in response to the reward offer.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

2 Comments

Filed under Papua, Separatism

OPM Attacks TNI in Papua

Free Papua Organization (OPM) gunmen opened fire on a Freeport Indonesia car in Mimika, Papua on Friday (14/09) in the latest instance of violence in the restive province.

Comr. Albertus Andreana, of the Mimika Police, told that soldiers of the Indonesian Military (TNI) were riding in the car when the OPM started shooting on Jalan Tanggul Timur.

“At the moment there is a team that is on the scene to investigate the incident,” Andreana said on Friday.

One soldier was injured from broken glass in the attack. No one was killed.

The TNI members were reportedly bringing food to their colleagues at a post in Kampung Nayaro.

Soldiers arrived on the scene after hearing the gunshots, Andreana said. The assailants shot at those cars as well and then fled the scene.

Attacks on Jalan Tanggul Timur are a common occurrence in Papua. Last year, First. Brig. Ronald Sopamena, of the Papua Mobile Brigade (BriMob) died while exchanging fire with OPM.

In April 2010, two high-ranking Freeport officials died in a similar attack. Daniel Mansawan and Hary Siregar were shot and set ablaze by the assailants.

Weeks after that attack, four workers of Fajar Puri Mandiri — a company contracted to dispose of mining tailings — were killed in an attack on the same road.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

1 Comment

Filed under Papua, Separatism

UK’s trade delegation visits RI

A delegation comprising UK companies visit Indonesia this week to explore business opportunities, particularly in developing partnerships with state firms and private companies in the country’s power and energy sector.

The delegation, led by Ali Sherwani, business development head at UK Export Finance, the UK government’s export credit agency, will stay in Indonesia from Tuesday to Friday in a bid to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries.

“UK companies recognize the size and strength of the Indonesian economy and are very keen to develop long-term, productive and collaborative partnerships with their Indonesian counterparts,” Ali said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post.

UK is currently one of the leading investors in Indonesia. A number of UK-based world-class companies have been investing their money in the Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

One of the companies is the oil and gas giant firm BP. Plc., who owns a a massive gas project located in the Bintuni Bay area in Papua, where total proven gas reserves amount to some 14.4 trillion cubic feet.

Source: The Jakarta Post

1 Comment

Filed under Economy, Papua

Police Officer Brutally Gunned Down in Papua

A police officer who was guarding a road project in Jayapura, Papua, was gunned down by members of Free Papua Organization (OPM) on Monday (10/09), police said.

Sec. Brig. Jefri Laudik Runtuboy was stationed at a road project overseen by Modern Widya Technical in Milineri village, Tolikara district, Jayapura, Monday morning when five armed men opened fire, according to National Police reports.

He was shot 14 times.

“He died of 14 gunshot wounds, five on his back, one on his neck, one on his rib, four in his belly, one on his chest, one on his hand and one on his eye,” Sr. Comr. Wachyono, Papua Police’s chief of detectives, told Kompas.com on Monday.

According to police, Jefri arrived at the construction site Monday morning with Sec. Brig. Faisal Asri. The two met at the construction site and then went in opposite directions.

At 11:50 a.m. local time, two OPM activists approached Jefri, police said. They were dressed in red pants with masks pulled over their hair. One of the men opened fire on the police officer.

Three more men arrived on the scene and began shooting Jefri.

The men then threatened a Modern Widya Technical employee named Indi, but he was able to escape after telling the assailants he was just a worker, police said. Indi fled to the Geya district.

Faisal reportedly heard the shooting and ran toward it, but Jefri was already dead. Twenty police officers later converged on the scene, but were unable to find the shooters.

The slain officer’s parents, Decky Wayoi and Heny Runtuboy, urged Papua Police to investigate the case.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

1 Comment

Filed under Papua, Separatism