Moh Khory Alfarizi, Jakarta – A spokesperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and the Free Papua Movement (OPM), Sebby Sambom, on Friday said they are prepared to face possible retaliation from the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) after the two opposing parties engaged in a shootout on Thursday.
Sebby said he represented the local people, who are the rightful owners of customary lands. In an interview with Tempo, Sembom insisted that the Indonesian military and police were only stationed in the region to terrorize the indigenous people of Papua.
"They even murdered the owner [of the customary land] who is an indegenous Papuan," said Sembom on January 28.
He argued that local customs dictate that thieves do not have a legal basis in war, which seemingly signaled that he sees Indonesian law enforcers and military in Papua as thieves.
"We believe that many thieves will perish as they do not have a legal basis to wage war against Papuan people. We, the people of Papua, are the rightful owners of our land," Sembom asserted.
The conflict in the early morning of Thursday happened after local liberation groups attacked a military personnel at a TNI post in the YR 480/Sbh Military District Command (Kodim). A follow-up took place again later that day, which prompted the military to return the attack.
This incident killed three TNI soldiers identified as 2nd Sergeant M. Rizal Maulana Arifin, Private Tupel Alomoan Baraza, and Private Rahman Tomilawa.
Cendrawasih Regional Military Command spokesman Col. M Aqsha Erlangga said no instructions had been issued from the TNI Commander on any follow-up actions. Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dudung Abdurachman at the House of Representatives on Thursday offered his condolences for soldiers who died in the attack and said that any follow-up action will come from the instructions of the TNI Commander.