WEST PAPUA MILITIA PDF Afdrukken E-mailadres
vrijdag 07 juli 2000 01:00

MARK WORTH: In the backblocks of West Papua's capital, Jayapura, the
country's champion of independence, Chief Theys Eluay, inspects the
guard of honour that's training to deliver his country - and his people
- to freedom. Just 600km from East Timor, this, too, is a struggle to
break away from Indonesia. And just like East Timor, the push for
freedom is giving birth to violent militia gangs.

Villagers are now moving from the mountains to the city to help defend
Papuans from pro-Jakarta thugs. These highlanders in traditional dress
have come down to attend the West Papuan People's Congress. They will
return to their villages to establish their own pro-independence
militia, or 'satgas' - Indonesian for 'taskforce'. While these people
only have bows and arrows, in the cities, the movement is much more

Satgas Papua was formed in response to pro-Indonesian militia called
Satgas Merah Putih, the Red and White Taskforce. These are two members
of Satgas Merah Putih, caught and beaten up after they attacked
independence supporters.

COMMANDO JOHN, SATGAS PAPUA: These Merah Putih are being used to defend
autonomy. Wherever their militia operate, they try to obstruct ours. Not
only Papuans but non-Papuans support them in their struggle. They
obstruct us and they're provocateurs in this struggle. Just yesterday,
we burnt down their house in Weinas. These people are being used by
Indonesia, by the government and the army to block the struggle for
Papuan independence.

MARK WORTH: Both militia groups now claim thousands of members. We
travelled three hours west of Jayapura to see how Satgas Papua was
organising itself in the bush. This chief is the traditional leader of
Tami Mamberano village, in an area once patrolled by Free West Papua
rebels, known as the OPM.

COMMANDO JOHN: Every district co-ordinators has 2-3 platoons of
militia. In every district, there are 2-3 platoons. In our whole area,
we have 10,000 militia. Their job is to guard the political leaders and
keep them safe from harassment. They do drills every day, they practice
marching and practice guarding towns and people from various sorts of
harassment. Is the Satgas Papua the new OPM? It's the OPM, not the new
OPM. It is the OPM.

MARK WORTH: The OPM, or the Free West Papua Movement, has been waging
a hit-and-run war against Indonesian occupation of West Papua for
nearly 40 years. Its rebirth in the form of Satgas Papua now sees
militia cells operating to the west, in Fak Fak and Nabire; to the
south, in Merauke and Timika; and in Jayapura to the north - a total
membership of 20,000.

generation. We are mobilising people that at any time we can equip with
one man, one gun for fighting, because our struggle for independence
cannot come through without fighting and diplomacy.

MARK WORTH: It's not surprising that Indonesia wants this low-tech
rebellion put down. And to do that, the military is using the same
tactics it employed in East Timor - covertly nurturing pro-Jakarta
militia and sending them in to fight their neighbours.

Louis Kambuaya was the deputy leader of the Golkar Party in West Papua
under the Suharto regime. Now, he can speak freely about how the
Indonesian government is using the same tactics here as it did in East
Timor - even flying in the same intelligence specialists to put down
this independence movement.

LOUIS KAMBUAYA: The key person that now the leader of the Irian Jaya
province, is the Governor, General Musiran. He is known as an intel man
who can make anything happen. This governor came from East Timor.

MARK WORTH: The Indonesian military divides and conquers by paying one
side to fight the other. Pro-independence Commando John has extracted
details about Indonesian military payments to the Red and White
Taskforce, or Satgas Merah Putih. Commando John claims these two
pro-Indonesian militia were paid by ABRI, the Indonesian military.

COMMANDO JOHN: I'd like to explain a little. No-one in the Papuan
independence struggle is paid. The militia and everyone else earn their
own living. If they work for the Indonesians, these guys get a wage.
They're not paid peanuts. They get billions of rupiah for sabotaging our
struggle. But these men we're guarding are Papuans. We've brought them
here to advise them, to educate them to support the struggle, not to
give up the struggle.

MARK WORTH: Tonight, Dateline can show where some of those wages come
from. These documents - leaked from the Indonesian military - show
payment delivered in the form of inducements to lure Papuans into the
ranks of the pro-Jakarta mob.

Their reward for siding against the independence movement included
trips from West Papua to the bars and bright lights of Jakarta,
complete with a new wardrobe of clothing in classic tropical chic.

One group had 22.8 million rupiah allocated to purchase safari suits,
2 million rupiah for pocket money and 10 million rupiah to buy souvenirs
on their visit to Jakarta. The grand total for these and other expenses
on this field trip - 875,602,500 rupiah. That's more than $175,000
Australian, and all of it approved by the regional military chief for
West Papua's Trikora command, Major-General Albert Ingkiriwang.

Not only are pro-Jakarta supporters being seduced by the gifts and
riches - someone is giving them guns as well. Commando John is not
prepared to say where the guns are coming from, but if the Indonesian
Army is prepared to fork out over $175,000 for a junket to Jakarta, one
can only speculate.

COMMANDO JOHN: They're in the process of getting guns at the moment.
Right now, the Merah Putih are using people like youth leaders, tribal
leaders, traditional leaders, church leaders and people in government.
They've got people in the regional parliament, at district and
provincial level.

MARK WORTH: Do the Merah Putih work directly with the TNI?

COMMANDER JOHN: Some TNI were involved directly with the militias, but
we took care of them a couple of weeks ago. Our militia has taken care
of them.

MARK WORTH: Being "taken care of" is a euphemism for payback, and
that's the worry - as the militias grow, so does the violence.
Independence supporter Commando Paulus was travelling from Jayapura to
Santani when he was set upon by pro-Jakarta thugs.

COMMANDO PAULUS: We were stopped on the road by the Merah Putih and
they slashed me with a machete.

MARK WORTH: Where was this?

COMMANDER PAULUS: They attacked me in Weanas. They blocked our way,
then they forced us to get out of the car. One of the Merah Putih came
at me with a machete and slashed my arm and my head and here.

MARK WORTH: But these people are the victims of the worst
anti-independence militia violence so far. Four months ago, they fled
their town of Fak Fak after pro-Indonesian Merah Putih thugs went on the
attack, aided by Indonesia's mobile police brigade, Brimob.

MAN: They once broke into my house and ransacked it. They took the
flag and my files and we've never found them. This is my wife - she was
a victim. They came in through the door and the windows as if there was
a war on.

SECOND MAN: They arrived in the village and ransacked our houses. They
took our belongings and smashed all the windows. Trunks they couldn't
open they hacked at with machetes. They shot at the crucifix and our
Morning Star flag. They bundled it up, threw it on the ground and
trampled on it. And the same with the Koran. They tore the Koran up and
threw it away.

And the rice - a few tonnes of rice got... Some they wet, some they
mixed with Rinso and some with kerosene or petrol. They left it there or
threw it into the sea. They shot all the chickens and the dogs.

MARK WORTH: Pro-independence Satgas Papua wants to avenge these
wrongs. But if the struggle isn't complicated enough, now the freedom
fighters have been offered support from the most unexpected quarter of
all - a terror group that would normally be their mortal enemy, the
Permuda Pancacila.

This contingent of Permuda Pancacila tried desperately to stir up
trouble in the Indonesian Parliament at the time of the fall of
President Suharto in 1998. The group was used as a political tool by
former president Suharto to provoke riots and attack his rivals. Permuda
Pancacila's support of Satgas Papua is seen as a ploy by Jakarta to
infiltrate and control the independence movement.

Yorris Raweyai is the deputy chairman of Permuda Pancacila.

There's now talk of setting up of Satgas Merah Putih in Fak Fak and
Jayapura. Do you know where the backing is coming from for that, at all?

won't comment on that, because that's a sensitive issue about Satgas
Merah Putih and Satgas Papua. But I'll hope that our government don't
try to make a pressure situation.

MARK WORTH: There are a lot of Irianese people in Permuda Pancasila.
Do you think they will go across Satgas Papua?

YORRIS RAWEYAI: Maybe. It depends on everybody.

MARK WORTH: It depends on Papuans.

YORRIS RAWEYAI: If they think they are Papuanese, they must join in.

MARK WORTH: And how do you feel yourself, as an Indonesian? Do you
feel strong links with your Papuan background?

YORRIS RAWEYAI: Of course. I am Papuanese. (Laughs)

MARK WORTH: For many, Yorris is playing a double game, trading on his
Papuan background while trying to undermine the independence movement.
His loyalty to Jakarta has been richly rewarded, his home chock-full of
the spoils from a long career with the Indonesian regime.

Four weeks ago, the people of West Papua gathered in Jayapura for the
Papuan People's Congress. It was an act of defiance against Indonesia's
rule and a reaffirmation of Chief Theys Eluay's leadership of the
freedom struggle. These people believe Indonesia's annexation of West
Papua in the UN-sponsored Act of Free Choice was fraudulent and should
be overturned.

In 1969, just 1,025 men - hand-picked by Indonesia - voted for
Indonesia's annexation of West Papua. The other 800,000 West Papuans
went unheard - now, they've been given a voice.

The Congress formed a West Papuan government-in-waiting, frightening
Australia into declaring its continued recognition of Papua's
integration with Indonesia. But it did nothing to dampen friction
between the warring West Papua militia. And even here, the
pro-Indonesian thugs were hard at work.

BROTHER THEO, HUMAN RIGHTS WORKER: They caught eight people who tried
to bring their bombs and guns into the Congress venue. We are very
angry, because we heard that it's very dangerous about their condition.
Maybe they are dead or full of wounds in their body, we don't know what.
The Satgas Papua don't like people of West Papua trying to make militia

MARK WORTH: Brother Theo is a volunteer with the West Papua human
rights group ELSHAM. For the past 12 months, he's been documenting
militia activity from both sides.

BROTHER THEO: I think it's dangerous because of these two kinds of
satgas. You know the Satgas Papua is made by local people. Their
background of life is very different than Satgas Merah Putih.

MARK WORTH: The day after the People's Congress, the pro-Jakarta Merah
Putih ran rampant through the Jayapura suburb of Waenas. Mr Sakom is a
Christian Sumatran who has lived in West Papua for the past 25 years.
During the militia rampage, his shops were doused in petrol and set

MR SAKOM, RESIDENT: 450 million rupiah is gone. I've scrimped and
saved and put money in the bank. But I like living in Irian. I like the
people here. I don't know why it happened, but I think it was
differences of opinion. I think the Papuans were very angry when they
did this.

BROTHER THEO: We can see the case in Fak Fak. From there, we can see
that there is something like the militia in East Timor trying to be
created in West Papua.

MARK WORTH: Many believe the split between Indonesia and West Papua
can be resolved by restaging the so-called Act of Free Choice'.

LOUIS KAMBUAYA: We are really fighting based on ideology. That we are
Melanesian by origin and Indonesian by an expansionism is an accident.
The Act of Free choice is totally no choice, and it is at a point where
West Papua will win. If necessary, we'll do the Act of Free Choice
again, but one man, one vote.

MARK WORTH: Just how long Indonesia can tolerate these scenes of civil
disobedience, these acts of free choice, is still not clear. The drive
for an independent West Papua has already claimed many lives, and the
footsoldiers in this battle are prepared to sacrifice even more to keep
their symbol of independence aloft and their dreams of a free land

Australia West Papua Association
Millers Point
Australia 2000