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Indonesian military deploys 1,200 soldiers to West Papua, Southwest Papua

Tempo - April 18, 2023

Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – The deployment of 1,200 Indonesian Military soldiers to the XVIII/Kasuari Regional Military Command in West Papua and Southwest Papua drew public protest, including residents of Maybrat Regency joined in Aliansi Masyarakat Maybrat Peduli Kenyamanan.

They voiced protests against the soldiers' deployment and the establishment of military posts in their villages, namely in Kampung Konja and Kampung Bori.

The spokesperson for the Kodam XVIII/Kasuari Regional Military Command, Colonel Inf. Batara Alex Bulo, explained that the assignment was aimed at providing a sense of security and convenience for the community. According to him, this was also related to the attack in Kisor Koramil in Maybrat on September 2, 2021, when 4 soldiers died.

Consequently, residents from 5 villages went for a mass exodus. Batara said that his side was striving to lure people to return to their villages. He claimed that the job is not easy. Residents were willing to return when there is a guarantee of security.

"The community has officially asked us, TNI, Polri (National Police), and the regional government to guarantee security," Batara said on Monday, April 18.

Batara claimed he was not concerned about parties who have opinions opposite the TNI and asked them to bring data and facts if the TNI intimidates the people, or even enrich themselves.

In addition to providing security, Batara said it was also aimed at overseeing regional development which is considered a weapon to fight against groups that keep sparking conflict, even demanding the independence of its own territory from Indonesia.

A number of residents protested against the establishment of the military posts by holding a peaceful demonstration in front of the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) of Maybrat Regency on Monday afternoon, April 17.

"They (the TNI) suddenly came and did not explain their aims and objectives properly," said action coordinator, Alberto Harin Turot, on Monday.

In its statement, the alliance said that a security approach such as presenting TNI soldiers actually creates new problems for the Papuan people. The presence of the TNI in villages is considered a threat to the convenience of people's lives.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1716402/indonesian-military-deploys-1200-soldiers-to-west-papua-southwest-papu