Jakarta – The Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police have taken over the West Papua National Committee headquarters in Timika, Mimika Baru district, Papua to use it as a joint military-police post.
"The headquarters is not allowed to operate anymore and was taken over as a TNI and police post from now on," Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Agung Marlianto said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said 80 TNI personnel and police officers went to monitor an anniversary and new year celebration at the headquarters on Monday morning.
Agung said the officers ordered the Free West Papua activists in the headquarters to remove all of the movement's insignia and to not to shout any freedom slogans.
"They refused at first, but finally we could remove all the insignia," he said, adding that officers had painted a wall red and white and knocked down another wall that bore the committee's symbol.
Beginning on Monday, he said, Papuans were not allowed to use any Free West Papua insignia or anything with the morning star symbol.
The committee spokesperson Ones Suhuniap said the takeover was immoral and unethical. He said the committee had informed the police they were holding an event on Dec. 31.
"Unless the land and buildings belonged to them and they retook it from us," Suhuniap said in a statement on Tuesday, explaining why the seizure of the property was improper. "It was built by the Papuans on their own land. They had given this to us." (ggq)