Respect native Papuans’ cultural norms, traditions: Military officer

Political arrests have been on the rise in recent years in West Papua, and the indigenous Melanesian population is pushing for a new referendum on independence. Image: The Conversation / Frans / EPA. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


JAYAPURA, Feb 12, 2020, ANTARA. XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Commander Major General Herman Asaribab reminded soldiers joining the task force of territorial duties in Papua and West Papua provinces to respect native Papuans’ cultural norms and traditions and avoid wrongdoing, ANTARA reported.

“I hope all personnel, who will conduct territorial duties at the district military commands within the administrative areas of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command, will always uphold the local communities’ cultural norms and traditions,” he told the Indonesian army personnel.

Addressing the roll call here on Tuesday to observe the preparedness of army personnel for territorial duties, Asaribab expressed keenness to find out about the real condition of his men, who would join the task forces under the operational control of the district military commands.

“As the commander, I must know the condition of all soldiers and various hurdles that they may face before their deployment,” he remarked while urging them not to stay quiet about their problems that may hinder their career and main duties as soldiers.

The security situation in Papua remains vulnerable to acts of deadly violence by notorious armed Papuan separatists.

The rebels were engaged in repeated exchanges of fire with the Indonesian military and police personnel. They also launched deadly attacks on civilians over the past years and killed several of them.

The Papua Police recorded that from early January to December 28, 2019, a total of 23 shooting and criminal cases involving the armed Papuan groups had claimed the lives of 10 members of the Indonesian police and military as well as 10 civilians.

The armed Papuan criminals committed such criminal acts in the administrative areas of the districts of Puncak Jaya, Jayawijaya, Mimika, and Paniai in 2019, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw had remarked on December 28, 2019.

In this situation, Mimika Police Chief I Gusti Era Adhinata revealed recently that some 60 bullets and two active grenade launcher modules (GLMs) were found at a dumpsite in Iwaka Sub-district.

The ammunition and GLMs that were discovered on December 31, 2019, and January 1, 2020, along with household garbage at the dumpsite belonged to the military and police, Adhinata revealed.

In response to this case, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw warned his men against getting involved in arms trafficking activities with the armed criminal groups in Papua Province and vouched to act sternly against them.

“No pardon will be given to those getting involved in arms trafficking activities. We are definitely sacking them. They will also be brought to court,” he had stated last January.

He believes that most police officers, posted in the Indonesian province of Papua, are highly dedicated, loyal, and reliable. However, there would likely be one or two, who misbehave, Waterpauw stated.

Investigators from the Indonesian police and military in Mimika District, Papua Province, are yet probing the mystery behind 60 bullets and two active grenade launcher modules (GLMs) found at a dumpsite in Iwaka Sub-district.

The joint team of investigators attempted to trace the origins of the ammunition and GLMs and uncover the identity of the person or persons, who could have taken them out of the weapon storage facility.

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