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Intel in Papua operating under independent chain of command

Kompas - April 19, 2012

Jakarta – Speaking in Jakarta on Wednesday April 18, Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters information centre chief Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said that intelligence personnel on duty in Papua do indeed have its own chain of command.

Intelligence operatives do not report to the Papuan chief-of-police despite the province currently being under a state of civil administration, where jurisdiction for security lies with regional heads and is implemented by the police. "Intelligence operations if they're found out, yeah, they would be in the wrong", said Sitompul.

Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) questioned why numerous shooting incidents in Papua are not followed by the arrest of suspects. The government invariably claims that the perpetrators are from the Free Papua Organisation (OPM).

Komnas HAM Commissioner Joseph A Prasetyo said that based on information obtained by the commission, there is a group of people referred to as "angel troops" (pasukan malaikat). They are not TNI and also not OPM. "We are therefore asking for transparency, [so that] all operations in Papua are reported to the police chief because Papua is under a state of civil order", he said.

According to Sitompul, boarder security and security operations in unstable areas are coordinated with regional governments or under the authority of local police.

Intelligence [operations] however, although they do indeed require coordination, are conducted through intelligence channels above them. "If they don't need coordination, yeah, they aren't conducted", said Sitompul.

Speaking at the Papua Regional House of Representatives (DPR) in Jayapura on Wednesday, DPR Commission A chairperson Ruben Magai said that security personnel, particularly the police, have been unable to maintain order and security in Papua.

Shootings in the area of PT Freeport and Puncak Jaya for example, continue unabated. Yet the security forces have proven incapable of shedding any light on the perpetrators.

Although there are many TNI and police personnel, as well as agents from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the Army's Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) that are assigned to Mulia, Puncak Jaya regency, a civil aircraft was still fired during a landing at the Mulia Airport resulting in the death of one passenger.

The shooting has resulted in pilots being unwilling to fly to Mulia and this has impacted upon the mobility of local people and the supply of foodstuffs. Since the shooting of the Trigana Air Twin-Otter aircraft on Monday April 8, no aircraft have flown back to Mulia. (JOS/EDN)

[Translated by James Balowski.]