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Concerns about military operations in Puncak Jaya region JAKARTA - Reports from the Puncak Jaya region, inside the central highlands of West Papua, indicate that Indonesian security forces, principally the militarized police BRIMOB, have launched actions against the small, armed Free Papua Movement (OPM). In May, security force spokespersons warned that if the local OPM leader, Goliat Tabuni, did not surrender by June 28, major operations would be launched to capture him and his small force.

Notwithstanding that deadline, it appears that major operations are already underway. The Indonesian government announced in mid-June that additional BRIMOB personnel were being dispatched to the region. According to reports from the field, the operations have already caused large numbers of civilians to flee to other villages or into the surrounding forests.

Specifically, thousands of people are reportedly hiding in forests, notably some from the Tingginambut Distirct; other residents of Tingginambut District have fled to Kuyawagi Astir, Tiom, and Lani Districts. Civilians from other areas have also fled to forested areas in the districts.

These civilians, in particular those who have fled to the forests, face health and possibly life threatening conditions including lack of access to food, adequate shelter, and medical services. In the past such "sweeping operations," Indonesian security forces prevented provision of humanitarian assistance to these besieged populations.

Reports from the field also tell of security forces targeting of civilians through widespread arrests, including the closure of a church in Kayogwebur district, forced labour for the Indonesian military, rape by BRIMOB personnel and other violations of human rights against the local residents of the area.

On June 11, BRIMOB conducted a residential sweep search of all houses on the road between Ilu and Mulia, detaining anyone without identification, putting them on Army trucks. (Most local people do not have ID and now afraid to leave their homes. As a result, gardens are untended and local commerce is crippled.


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Posted in Military @ 19 June 2010 02:47 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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