Tensions continued in Papua, while police arrested dozens across country following suicide terror attack in Sumatra. With tensions in Papua still high from deadly unrest in recent months, authorities put in place additional security measures ahead of 1 Dec, when region traditionally mark anniversary of West Papuan independence day, and which was marred by deadly separatist violence in 2018. Papua police chief said patrols being intensified in known separatist strongholds in regencies of Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya, Intan Jaya and Mimika, as well as in provincial capital Jayapura in anticipation of pro-independence rallies. Military 30 Nov reported rebel attack on army helicopter in Nduga regency, one suspected separatist rebel shot dead. Jayapura police reportedly arrested more than 30 people same day for planning to celebrate independence day, and several for wearing symbols of independence. In north Sumatra, 24-year-old student blew himself up outside police station in Medan 13 Nov, injuring four police and two civilians; police 18 Nov said attacker connected to Islamic State (ISIS)-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, along with 22 other suspects in area. Police arrested dozens in north Sumatra and other provinces, including group leader, and killed two suspected bomb-makers in raid in Hamparan Perak village in north Sumatra 16 Nov. Police 14 Nov also arrested wife of Medan suicide bomber, who they said had been planning attack in Bali.
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.
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
Originally published in Myanmar Times