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Military accuse ELSHAM of being 'extension' of PDP

Tapol - October 1, 2002

The top leadership of the Indonesian military has responded angrily, making revengeful accusations against West Papua's leading human rights organisation, ELSHAM, for daring to accuse an arm of the military, Kopassus, of responsibility for the killing of three Freeport officials and the wounding of 12 others on 31 August.

According to the Papua Pos of 28 September, the official spokesman of the TNI, Major General Syafrie Sjamsuddin accused ELSHAM of being an extension of the Papuan Presidium Council (PDP). "ELSHAM which is led by John Rumbiak can be described as being part of the Political Separatists (KSP – Kelompok Separatis Politik)," he told journalists.

He alleged that the OPM in West Papua has two organisational wings, the KSP and the armed separatists who wage their struggle in the jungle. It's quite clear, he said, that ELSHAM is part of te Political Separatist wing and an extension of the PDP.

ELSHAM had earlier (on 25 September at a press conference in Jakarta) revealed that there were strong indications that the shooting of foreign Freeport personnel on 31 August had involved members of Kopassus., alleging that this was linked to a struggle over the share of money provided to guard the premises of the Freeport mining company.

Syafrie said that that was no factual basis for ELSHAM's allegations, which were based on out of date and irrelevant information. Syafrie, who is himself from Kopassus, vigorously denied that Kopassus could have been involved in a struggle over the spoils as their needs were provided by the government, while Freeport supplies supporting funding. He said he did not know how much money was involved in this. It was all based on rumour and those spreading these rumours will be held to account, he warned.

Asked what action the TNI would take against ELSHAM for making these accusations, he said that the Trikora regional military command was investigating the allegations. "If they fall short of the facts and are aimed as discrediting the TNI, then these people will have to face the law," he said. "It is the rule of law that prevails here," he claimed.