Indonesian forces arrest Papuan rebel who escaped from prison in 2016 – benarnews
Indonesian police arrested a Papuan separatist leader who was on the run after escaping from a Papua prison with several others in 2016, while serving a life sentence for the murder of three police officers, reported officials announced Friday.
Osimin Wenda (also known as Usmin Telenggen) was arrested while riding a motorbike in Puncak Jaya regency on Thursday morning, Papua Provincial Police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said. .
“The team arrested him in the village of Wandigobak and immediately arrested him,” Kamal told BenarNews in a statement.
Osimin, 30, was arrested in 2013. The following year a Papua court sentenced him to life in prison after convicting him of premeditated murder, aggravated theft and arson.
Kamal said his crimes included participating in an attack on a police station in Lanny Jaya regency that killed a local police chief and two of his subordinates in November 2012.
In the same month, Osimin and other rebels ambushed an entourage led by then Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian – now Indonesian Home Secretary – to Lanny Jaya, Kamal said. There were no casualties.
Five years ago, Osimin and 13 other detainees, including several separatist rebels, escaped from Abepura prison in Jayapura, the provincial capital. Authorities blamed the prison break on a shortage of guards.
While on the run, Osimin was allegedly involved in an attack that killed a motorcycle taxi driver in Lanny Jaya’s regency in 2018, Kamal said.
Sebby Sambom, spokesperson for the West Papua National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement, could not be reached immediately to comment on the arrest.
Prior to his first arrest in 2013, Osimin was part of a guerrilla group under the command of Lekagak Telenggen, a rebel leader of the Puncak regency.
Earlier this month, security forces arrested a suspected guerrilla, Yoniku Murib, and four others under Lekagak’s command.
During his interrogation in police custody, Murib revealed that the Lekagak Telenggen group was responsible for some attacks in Puncak this year, according to Faisal Ramadhani, director of general criminal investigations at the Papuan police.
A low-level separatist insurgency has simmered for decades in Indonesia’s far-eastern region of Papua, which makes up the western half of the island of New Guinea and includes two provinces: Papua and Papua western.
In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded Papua and annexed it. The region, which has a predominantly Melanesian population, was officially incorporated into Indonesia after a UN-sponsored poll called the Free Choice Act in 1969.
Residents and activists said the vote was a dummy vote because only around 1,000 people participated. However, the United Nations accepted the result, which essentially endorsed the rule of Jakarta.
The region rich in natural resources remains one of the poorest and underdeveloped in Indonesia.
Kamal said the security situation had improved in Papua after a series of rebel attacks on civilians and clashes between insurgents and security forces in recent months.
“Thank goodness the last few days have been calm,” Kamal said.
“Investigations, arrests and hunting operations against armed criminal groups are still carried out by joint forces. “
In the latest incidents, rebels opened fire on security personnel guarding food supplies in the Nduga regency on July 6, wounding three soldiers, Jayapura’s military commander, the brigadier. General Izak Pangemanan told the official Antara news agency.
On July 11, a policeman was injured in a shootout with insurgents in Yahukimo’s regency. A day later, two soldiers were injured in a shootout with another rebel group in Nduga, said regional military leader Major General Ignatius Yogo Triyono.
At the end of last month, suspected separatist rebels killed four construction workers and took four people hostage in Yahukimo’s regency. Police said the hostages were later released.
In April, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered security forces to step up efforts to root out armed groups after separatist insurgents assassinated an army general, who was also the agency’s regional head. Indonesian intelligence agency.
As part of the crackdown, the government declared the separatist rebels a terrorist group. The designation alarmed human rights activists who said it could lead to more human rights violations against the Papuan people.
Cahyo Pamungkas, a Papua researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Science, said the designation of separatists as terrorists meant dialogue was increasingly out of reach.
“The result is that the authorities will become more and more zealous in counter-insurgency operations. There are no more openings for dialogue and violence and military force has become a solution, ”Cahyo told BenarNews.