Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, April 11 2014, 3:49 PM


Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Moeldoko has given his assurances that his men will only pursue the armed group that fled across the border into Papua New Guinea (PNG) after being involved in a shootout with TNI soldiers at the Indonesia-PNG border a few days ago.

“Off course, we will only target those people who are armed with rifles. We will take firm measures against whoever tries to jeopardize either the local population or the Indonesian authorities,” Moeldoko said in recent interview with The Jakarta Post.

He made the statement following the shootout, which left Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Albert Papare and a soldier by the name of Chief Sgt. Tugino injured. According to the Papua Police, the assailants were led by Mathias Wenda. This group has gained some notoriety for its guerilla tactics, often targeting Indonesian security forces and locals.

Moeldoko said the TNI was working with the police to find the insurgents in PNG territory. He also said that the TNI had adopted a new strategy to anticipate any disruptions to security in Papua.

He said the military was assisting local civilians in finding ways to overcome their everyday problems.

“We want the locals to feel that their livelihoods are more secure because of our presence here,” he said.

When asked about the outlook for security in Papua given the latest tensions, Moeldoko said he was optimistic that the security disruptions in the country's easternmost province could be tackled with the new strategy. However, he acknowledged that despite the lower potential for disturbances, the intensity of the Free Papua Movement's (OPM) political wing was worrying.

“They have established a representative office in London [UK] and are continuing to gain support from a number of individuals and countries. This should keep us on the alert,” Moeldoko said.