Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – The shooting of Papuan Pastor Yeremia Zanambani is not an independent incident but part of the most recent and most significant shift in the trend of conflicts in Intan Jaya regency since its establishment in 2008, a report has said.
A recent report about the killing of Yeremia titled "Grief from Hitadipa", written by a team formed by Papua Governor Lukas Enembe about three weeks after the incident occurred in September, stated that Intan Jaya had entered its latest period of conflicts.
The report stated that the province had become an armed conflict zone in Papua in the past year due to the presence of two significant security forces, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB). "The shift in conflicts is significant because previously, Intan Jaya regency was never part of the conflict zone between the TNI and the TPNPB," the report said.
Before the security forces entered, the report said, conflicts in Intan Jaya were only been related to communal issues, land ownership issues, clashes among locals and various other disturbances to security and public order by local residents. "When social conflicts such as tribal wars occurred, a conflict resolution based on traditional values was pursued by the warring groups of people to find a middle ground."
The separation of Intan Jaya from Paniai regency to form a new autonomous region in 2008 correlates with the shift in the conflict trend. The team recorded that from 2014 to 2016, violence involving Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members led to at least one civilian death and 21 injuries.
Another security force was allegedly culpable for a separate incident in which one civilian was killed. "These various cases of violence were not politically driven but were incidental violence driven by personal motives or as a result of provocation," wrote the team. In 2017, however, the regional head election changed the dynamics of conflicts in Intan Jaya. A clash between sympathizers of candidate pair Yulius Yapugau and Yunus Kalabetme and incumbent regent Natalis Tabuni and Robert Kobogoyauw resulted in the deaths of at least three locals while 101 others were injured.
As tensions were escalating, the Papua Police multiplied troops for security, the report stated. "The tensions have had an impact on the fragility of the civilian government in responding to various dynamics of local security," the report said. The report explained that the 2017 race had impacted the legitimacy and effectiveness of the local administration, as organic and non-organic troops were deployed to secure the election and its aftermath, resulting in a significantly increased presence of the military and the police. The TPNPB was simultaneously ramping up efforts to expand its territorial units and working toward reunification, the report said.
After the TPNPB Summit in Papua's Biak Numfor regency in May 2012, the liberation army had 33 territorial units throughout Papua, including in Intan Jaya. Internal consolidation was also strengthened through a meeting on the Reunification and the Declaration of Unity of the TPNPB on Aug. 1, 2019, in Ilaga, Puncak regency, the report said. Since then, it stated, the intensity of the conflict between the TNI and the TPNPB had increased, including in Intan Jaya regency. A series of violent incidents have escalated the conflict since the end of 2019, including the shooting of Indonesian Army soldiers. "Now, Intan Jaya regency has become a new zone for deadly security conflicts.
According to the humanitarian team's record, the victims in the conflicts between the TNI and the TPNPB were mostly civilians, both Papuans and non-Papuans," the report stated. The team has thus far documented at least 17 cases of violence perpetrated by either the TNI or the TPNPB, resulting in 17 deaths, including 12 civilians. The team said Yeremia was the 10th civilian victim in Intan Jaya since October 2019.
Chairman of the humanitarian team Haris Azhar, who is also the Lokataru Legal and Human Rights Foundation executive director, said many residents in Intan Jaya had left their villages over fear of conflicts as more TNI members had entered the region. He said some residents had fled to the mountains or to other regencies, including Mimika and Nabire. "Just this morning, I received a report from local residents that more soldiers had been deployed.
This is of course not what they are hoping for. They do not want the presence of soldiers there," Haris told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. Haris said his team had submitted an analysis of the report to the Executive Office of the President through its deputy head of politics, legal affairs, defense, security and human rights, Jaleswari Pramodhawardani.
The Post contacted Jaleswari and Col. Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa, the spokesperson of the TNI's Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III, for comment but neither party extended a reply.