Yance Wenda, Sentani, Jubi – A member of the Papuan People's Assembly's (MRP) Customary Working Group, Engelbertus Kasipmabin, said the deployment of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police troops to Papua was not well prepared that many public facilities were turned to security posts by the TNI and police.
Kasipmabin criticized the security forces for occupying a number of schools, community health centers, and civil service offices and disrupting the Papuan people's activities. "[The soldiers] don't even have a place to live, such as a dormitory, let alone security posts," said Kasipmabin on Friday, February 4, 2022.
Kasipmabin also said that efforts to make the TNI and police as teaching staff or medical personnel had not received a positive response from residents. Basically, the people were afraid of the presence of the TNI and police in schools or other public facilities, Kasipmabin said.
"The people were afraid but they have no other option than accepting [the security forces], even the teachers were afraid. They fled because they were constantly asked about the West Papua National Liberation Army or TPNPB. The TNI and police always ask about the matter to people who don't know about anything," he explained.
Kasipmabin suggested the central government take another strategy instead of sending additional troops to Papua as the impact of sending more troops had only worsened the situation in Papua. "Call the TPNPB, then sit down for a dialogue," he said.
He further asked the TNI and police troops not to occupy land, gardens, and houses of the people. The use of public facilities such as schools and health centers around residential areas as military posts actually endangers the civilians in those locations, scares them, and makes them leave their villages and become internally displaced people.
Previously on January 21, the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) asked the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) troops occupying three school buildings in Yahukimo Regency to leave the school buildings. LBH Papua director Emanuel Gobay said the Brimob had occupied NINIA High School, Anggruk High School, and Yahukimo 2 Vocational School since October 3, 2021.
"As a result, the students cannot go to school and the teaching and learning process has come to a complete halt," Gobay said in a written statement.
Meanwhile, director of the General Criminal Investigation of the Papua Police Sr. Comr. Faizal Ramadhani said his party would evaluate a number of security units that had occupied public facilities such as schools.
"The troops should not stay in schools. We realized that some time ago [there were troops occupying public facilities], as reported by the media. This is evaluation material for us, police. We have built barracks in some areas such as Nduga, Bintang Mountains, and several other areas," he said.