‘Don’t trust the Indonesian military,’ says OPM warning civilians to leave conflict
The West Papua National Liberation Army Organization (TPNPB-OPM) has warned the Papuan people not to believe that the TNI (Indonesian Army) and Polri (Indonesian Police) can provide them with security guarantees in the region.
OPM spokesman Sebby Sambom said they had ‘sounded the drums of war’ against the security forces so that the civilian population still in certain areas could avoid becoming victims. , reports CNN Indonesia.
“You [the civilian population] should not listen to the orders of the TNI-Polri saying: “We guarantee [the safety of] the civilian population’ – there is no such guarantee, the TNI-Polri are deceiving you,” Sambom said in a video statement received by reporters.
Sambom calls on the civilian populations of all groups to leave the regions that the OPM had designated as “war zones”. He said there were several such conflict areas. including Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Ndugama, Bintang Highlands and Yahukimo.
Sambom said the OPM – which has been labeled a “terrorist” organization by Jakarta – would not be responsible for civilian deaths.
“If you are a construction worker, a motorcycle taxi driver, all of you [must] leave conflict zones. Because we cannot be responsible for your lives, we have warned you,” he said.
“But you listen to the TNI-Polri who deceive you by saying we guarantee [your safety]they deceive you,” Sambom said.
OPM appeal criticized
Joint Defense Area Command III (Kogabwilhan III) spokesman Col. Czi Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa responded by saying the OPM call was “a deception” repeated over and over again by the group.
He said there were no areas in Papua that were war zones. According to Suriastawa, all the incidents that occurred were due to the “terrorist movement” of the OPM.
Moreover, he claimed that the OPM was increasingly isolated.
“Let them (the OPM) say what they want. So far there are no conflict zones that are war zones, but there is the OPM terrorist movement that is increasingly in a hurry because his ability to move [is limited because] they are constantly chased by TNI-Polri staff,” Suriastawa told CNN Indonesia.
He said the Papuan people were increasingly showing their opposition to the pro-independence armed groups which the government had now branded as terrorists.
According to Suriastawa, the public was no longer swayed by OPM “propaganda” which he said was acting outside the law and even killing Papuans themselves.
“It shows how angry ordinary people are at the OPM’s brutality and arbitrary actions,” he said.
Workers shot at
Earlier, an armed group reportedly shot five construction workers working on the Kuk River Bridge in Samboga Village, Seradala District, Yahukimo Regency last Thursday.
Four of the five have been pronounced dead while the surviving victim is being treated for injuries sustained from broken glass.
During the incident, an armed group numbering around 30 militants fired on a convoy of trucks carrying workers. They were attacked with a variety of weapons including knives, arrows, machetes, samurai swords and guns.
According to testimonies collected by the police, four other workers were held hostage by the armed group in an unknown location.
Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “OPM Tuding Aparat Abaikan Warga, TNI Sebut Gertakan Teroris”.