Amid series of deadly attacks in Papua’s Puncak district, govt designated Papuan separatist armed groups as “terrorists”. Armed assailants 8-9 April killed two teachers and set on fire three schools in Juluokma village in Beoga sub-district, Puncak district; authorities said attackers belonged to separatist armed group West Papua Liberation Army. Authorities 14-15 April evacuated 35 civilians, including teachers and health workers, from Beoga to Timika city, Mimika district, while security forces launched Operation Nemangkawi to find those responsible for violence. In subsequent days, suspected armed separatists 25-26 April killedregional intelligence officer Brigadier General I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha during shoot-out in Puncak district; President Joko Widodo 26 April declared “there is no place for armed groups in Papua” and ordered arrests of all separatists. Govt 29 April announcedcategorisation of “organisations and people in Papua who commit mass violence” as “terrorists”; NGO Amnesty International next day expressed concern that terrorist designation “only increases the potential for even further human rights violations.”
A dispute over a flag in Aceh is testing the limits of autonomy, irritating Indonesia’s central government, heightening ethnic tensions, reviving a campaign for the division of the province and raising fears of violence as the 2014 national elections approach.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to act more firmly against institutions and officials that defy national court rulings or his inaction risks prolonging local conflicts.
The only measure likely to halt violence in Indonesia’s Papua province in the short term is a major overhaul of security policy.
Almost ten years after the 2002 Bali bombing, Indonesian extremists are weak and divided but still finding partners for new operations.
Election monitors should begin deployment to Aceh long before the 9 April election to deter intimidation.
Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope discuss with cultural historian and author David van Reybrouck his new book on the legacy of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia and his parallel work on improving the functioning of democracy.
Lecture by Sidney Jones at International Policy Studies program of Stanford University, 5 December 2012.
Originally published in The Interpreter
Originally published in The Jakarta Globe