Call for Jihadis to go to West Papua following unrest

Johnny Blades, RNZ Pacific Journalistjohnny.blades@rnz.co.nz

Indonesia's Front Jihad Islam looks to recruit jihadis to take up arms in West Papua Photo: Supplied
Indonesia’s Front Jihad Islam looks to recruit jihadis to take up arms in West Papua Photo: Supplied

Jihadis are being encouraged to go and fight in West Papua by Indonesian Muslim hardliners.

Front Jihad Islam, or FJI, issued a call to arms in the Indonesia-ruled Papuan provinces after non-Papuan settlers were among the victims of recent violence there.

Unrest has surged in Papua region since August, including a day of rioting and violence in the Highlands city of Wamena two weeks ago when about 30 people were killed.

The unrest came off the back of widespread public demonstrations by West Papuans protesting against racism and calling for a referendum on independence from Indonesia.

According to Indonesia’s government, more than 11,500 people have been evacuated from Wamena since then due to safety fears. That many of these people are settlers from other parts of Indonesia has caused concern and prompted action back in Java.

FJI has been busy spreading its message online, replete with videoed torching of the Papuan Morning Star Flag and banners calling for Jihadis to be recruited for fighting in Papua against Papuans.

That’s a concern to Saiful Islam Payage, the head of Papua’s chapter of the Ulema Council, Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body.

“I am very worried. So, I strongly forbid the Laskar who are in the name of religion for war or jihad in Papua,” he said.

He said that for now, there were only demonstrations in Java, and that no mobilisation of jihadis had yet occurred in the Papuan provinces. But he warned that if hardliners sought to bring their brand of divisiveness to Papua, he would have them expelled.

Indonesia's Front Jihad Islam looks to recruit jihadis to take up arms in Papua Photo: Supplied
Indonesia’s Front Jihad Islam looks to recruit jihadis to take up arms in Papua Photo: Supplied

Indonesian human rights researcher Andreas Harsono said that following recent violence in Wamena, a number of Islamic groups mobilised in Javanese cities.

Those organisations had been making two types of public calls – one, from a Muslim NGO network, was urging people to donate to humanitarian assistance for victims of the unrest in Wamena and other parts of Papua.

The other, from the likes of the FJI and the Islamic Defenders Front, was a call to recruit jihadis to go to Papua and protect fellow Muslims.

According to Mr Harsono, his concern stems from the way that most Indonesians have limited knowledge of the situation in Papua and the context of widespread human rights abuses there.

“Most victims are indigenous Papuans. Many Indonesians do not know the problems there,” he said.

“But because of emotions, because of sentiment, Muslim sentiment, they might think that fellow Muslims are being victimised in Papua. Thus, they will provide the ingredients to support these kind of misleading calls.”

While noting his concern, the researcher also said that he didn’t deem the threat as major currently because as yet no cleric of significant influence had called for jihadis in Papua.

Furthermore, Mr Harsono said that Indonesian military and police personnel were on hand to provide security in Wamena and other towns in a region where the population was predominantly Christian.

While Papua has generally enjoyed harmonious inter-religious relations, Mr Harsono said groups aggressively promoting sharia law already had a foothold in the region.

“We have one in Sorong; we are also seeing Laskar Jihad, a militant Muslim group, setting up a base in Keerom; also in Wamena – not militant, but quite aggressive.

“So these kinds of organisations are starting to appear in many parts of both Papua and West Papua provinces over the last decade.”

The presence of hardline Islamic campaigners in Keerom regency, which sits right on the border with Papua New Guinea, is not the only security concern along the 141st meridian east.

Land and sea access points between the two countries were closed last weekafter two people died in a shootout near the border on the Indonesian side where there’s been a troop build-up.

The governor of PNG’s West Sepik province, Tony Wouwou, said fellow Melanesians on the other side looked to flee across the border to safety in PNG.

But he said having Indonesian military in pursuit of them brought risk for his people.

“I’m a bit scared. I’m worried if my people go across and you never know what could happen. They might get bullet wounds or something because the Indonesians might think we’re Wamenas [people from Wamena] and all this, and receive a wound, and maybe our people will retaliate or something. I don’t want that to happen.”

He said the border entry point to Indonesia should remain closed until security threats abate.

Source: RNZ

WPRA Will Retaliate against Indonesian army and police if….

Only if the Indonesian army (TNI) and police (Polri) continue to kill students and unarmed civilized on daily basis, unstopped by international civilized community then West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) will retaliate.

Recent deployments of active military and police troops, equipped with fire arms to kill Melanesians in West Papua clearly indicate that Indonesia is declaring war against Melanesians. All Melanesian leaders must united now, because we are defending our human dignity and integrity. We are not just fighting against foreign occupation, but more than that, these military might has been undermining God created human beings in His own Image by calling us Melanesians “monkeys”, “pigs” and “dogs”.

The world should note that it is Indonesia that love violence, love killing, and Indonesia is NOT a democratic country, but it is fully controlled by military might that terrorize Indonesian civilians.

Papuan rights groups call on Jakarta to investigate Paniai massacre

Alleged Paniai massacre images distributed on social media networks. Image: Pacific Scoop

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Nethy Darma Somba and Hasyim Widhiarto in Jayapura

Human rights activists have demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo form an independent team to probe a shooting in Paniai, Papua, that claimed the lives of at least five civilians and wounded 21.

“President Jokowi should form an impartial team to thoroughly investigate the shooting incident so as to avoid the blame game among law enforcers and civilians,” said Rev Neles Tebay, coordinator of rights group Peaceful Papua Network.

The shootings occured around 10 a.m. on Monday when security personnel allegedly attempted to disperse a crowd that had gathered and was dancing in Karel Gobai field in Madi district, Paniai.

Witnesses said the residents were performing the waita tribal dance after setting fire to a black SUV believed to belong to a group suspected of assaulting residents assembled at a Christmas event in Ipakiye village, East Paniai.

Police from a nearby station arrived at the field to disperse the crowd. When the crowd continued dancing and did not disperse, the police fired into the crowd.

Rev Neles said the independent team should also track down the driver of the SUV that had provoked residents. He added that the case required a clear resolution since Paniai regency had seen frequent shootings since 1969.

The Papua police have denied involvement in the incident, saying that before the incident occurred, residents blocked roads and disrupted traffic in Enarotali city.

Gunshots investigated

As the police were trying to negotiate with residents to cease the disruption, they heard gunshots from the nearby hills.

The case is currently under police investigation.

The Indonesian Military’s (TNI) Army chief of staff, General Gatot Nurmantyo, agreed with the police’s account of the incident and denied any TNI involvement.

“As far as I know, there were no police or soldiers in the hills. However, it is known that [members of the pro-independence Free Papua Movement] often hide in the hills or the forest. We should check and investigate whether it is true or not,” he said on the sidelines of a peacekeepers departure ceremony at TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.

Speaking to reporters this week after accompanying President Jokowi to Halim Perdanakusuma Airport prior to his departure to South Korea, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said there should be an investigation into where the bullets had come from.

“The gunshots did not only come from the side but also from above. We have to see where they came from. Don’t just blame the law enforcers,” he said.

Tedjo said that the situation in the area was now calm.

Community talks

“I’ve spoken with the [local TNI] commander and there have been talks with the local community,” he added.

“It has been suggested that [the conflict] could be settled by performing a traditional ceremony, for example the rock-burning [ceremony].”

The rock-burning ceremony — where food is cooked with the heat of hot rocks placed in a hole in the ground covered by leaves and grass — is an age-old ritual among Papuan tribes.

Nani Afrida contributed to this report for The Jakarta Post.

Source: The Jakarta Post and Pacific Scoop

Indonesia forces deny involvement in Papua shooting

Indonesia police and military brass are reportedly distancing themselves from blame for the shooting of the five young West Papuan civilians in the highlands region of Paniai.

Four men were killed and over a dozen injured when security forces, both police and military, allegedly opened fire on a crowd on Monday that was protesting at the Karel Gobai field located near the Paniai District Military Command.

A fifth man died from the bullet injuries a few hours later in hospital.

The Age online reports that Jakarta-based leaders of both the army and police are denying responsibility for the shooting.

The national police chief Sutarman said on Wednesday it was not the police.

A Jakarta-based military counterpart, army chief of staff Gatot Nurmantyo, speculated that, instead of being fired by the armed soldiers and police officers in front of the protesting crowd, the fatal shots came from the top of a hill behind them.

He said he had heard from from the Papuan police and military that shots were coming from the top of the hill.

Mr Nurmantyo said he was certain there were no members of the military or the police on the hill.

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched and will be run by a team headed by the Detective Head of the Papuan police, senior commissioner Dwi Iriyanto.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz

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