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General Maruli: 'OPM' label reinstated, TNI ready to act in Papua

Jakarta Globe - June 8, 2024

Antara, Jakarta – Army Chief of Staff General Maruli Simanjuntak said that the Indonesian Military's (TNI) decision to revert to the original term "OPM" (Free Papua Movement) from "armed criminal groups" (KKB) in calling the separatist group would impact their peacekeeping strategy. The military would not hesitate to take action if they see an armed person in Papua.

"Very much (affect our approach). It would influence the action of the TNI, especially those stationed in Papua. But, I want to convey that we are not hesitant in our steps," he said in Badung Regency, Bali, on Friday

Previously, TNI Commander General Agus Subiyanto said that the terminology KKB was reverted to OPM. The reason is that the group named itself the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), which is the same as the OPM.

This step changed the government's decision on April 29, 2021, which agreed to refer to the OPM as the KKB or separatist terrorist group (KST). The TNI Commander has also issued a written order dated April 5, instructing the XVII/Cendrawasih Military Region Command and the XVIII/Kasuari Military Region Command, as well as their subordinates, to revert to using the term OPM.

According to Maruli, TNI members stationed in Papua have been hesitant to make decisions about taking action against armed persons, especially in distinguishing between those who are OPM members and those who are not.

He emphasized that they would not hesitate to make decisions if TNI members in the field encountered individuals carrying weapons and endangering the safety of security forces and the community.

"There are things that make our members hesitate to take action. For example, if we see someone carrying a weapon, should we let them go first, and report them because that would be a violation of the law? If they are considered OPM, armed, dangerous, then we will take action," he said.

However, Maruli did not elaborate on the details of the changes in tasks and functions between the TNI and the National Police (Polri) as a result of the change in terminology.

Maruli stated that the current situation in Papua was starting to improve, and the community was resuming normal activities.

"The situation is getting better. As far as I know, the situation is improving, the community is starting to wake up, and we have arranged things so that activities can continue smoothly," he said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/general-maruli-opm-label-reinstated-tni-ready-to-act-in-papu