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Human rights commission raises concerns on illegal arms trade in West Papua

Tabloid JUBI - March 23, 2021

Arjuna Pademme, Jayapura – The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Papua said one of the problems that made them worried was about illegal arms trade in Papua Land.

The head of Papua representative office of Komnas HAM in Papua, Frits Ramandey, said he had learned that there were people of various backgrounds who were involved in this illegal trade.

Media reports revealed that recently two police officers and a military soldier were arrested for allegedly selling arms to some people in Papua Land. The two police officers were arrested when they sold the arms allegedly to an armed group in Bintuni in West Papua province of Papua Land.

The two police officers were from Maluku Police and they had stashed the gun and rifle and about 600 ammunitions since 1999 when they were on duty during the sectarian conflicts in the province, Antara news agency reported.

"What has become our concern today is the rampant illegal arms trade. When I met one detainee in Sorong, he told me how illegal arms entered Papua," said Ramandey in a coordination meeting with Papuan People Council in Jayapura on March 19.

He suspected that some of the illegal arms were bought by "village fund". He got the information from a suspect arrested in Mimika Regency in September 2018. "When village fund from Jakarta entered Papua, ammos and guns illegal trade was on the rise in Papua," he said.

Village fund is a government program introduced in 2015, based on a 2014 law on villages. The fund is expected to speed up development on the village level, including to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Each village can receive up to Rp 1 billion.

At the end of February this year, the House of Representatives deputy speaker, Azis Syamsuddin said he condemned two police officers who sold the arms to an armed group in Papua.

Earlier in October 2020, Papua Police arrested three people who tried to sell a gun to a businessman in West Papua. One suspect, MJH, is an active police officer living in Depok, West Java. He brought the gun on a flight from Jakarta to Nabire. The businessman who ordered the arms, an M4 and M16, was also arrested.

Papua Police investigation last year revealed the three people had smuggled illegal arms into Papua seven times since 2017. MJH was the courier who abused his status as an active police officer to freely bring the arms on flights.

Papua Police chief at that time, Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, said last year that eventually the arms were sold to armed group members, one of them identified as Tandi Kogoya.

He said one arm could be sold at Rp 300 million a piece. MJH got Rp 10 to 30 million each time he brought an arm to Papua.

In November last year, Papua Police also investigated an illegal arm trade from the Philippines to Papua Land. The arms were smuggled from the Philippines to North Sulawesi and then to Manokwari.

Source: https://en.jubi.co.id/komnas-raises-concerns-on-illegal-arms-trade-in-west-papua