31 constructions workers in Papua were killed by the military wing of Free West Papua separatist organizations on Sunday, December 2nd 2018. Head of Public Relations, Papua Police Department, Col. Ahmad Mustofa Kamal has confirmed the validity of the news.
Should the Free West Papua movement supporters and the international media discuss this violent attacks perpetrated by members of Free West Papua military wing, locally known as OPM/TPNPB (roughly translated into ‘Liberation Soldiers of West Papua’)?
The Free West Papua movement recently held an event commemorating 57th anniversary of their conception, on the 1st of December. The movement claimed itself to be non-violent, while frequently causing fear and deaths towards innocent lives of local citizen.
The construction workers were employees of PT Istaka Karya, working on a bridge construction project between Yigi and Aurak Rivers, Nduga District, Papua.
The workers were reported to have sparked the anger of West Papuan separatists, by taking photos of the West Papua separatist movement anniversary event on the 1st of December, the day before. It remains unclear to the moment this news is published, of what are the messages inside those photos. The police have confirmed that photos were taken by the group of workers during that event, but no further information was available yet.
24 of the workers were murdered at the construction camp, when 8 others managed to escape the place and headed to a house owned by local parliament member. Unfortunately, the armed separatist group caught 7 of them in pursuit, leaving only 1 alive.
The Papua Police Department has already deployed a team to track and arrest the suspected members of the separatist group.
Nduga is a district that is strategically located close enough to the coast, right in the center of Papua, connecting 11 other districts which are more isolated due to mountainous terrain. The armed separatist criminal group often targets Nduga in their operations, making the district infamous for being unsafe. Civilians frequently fall victims to kidnappings, where the separatist groups acquire ransom money to fund and sustain their other operations.
The next day on December 3rd, the armed separatist group was also engaged in a siege against 28 Indonesian military personnel, where 40 separatist group members surrounded a military watchpost in Mbua, a small town also located in Nduga district. At the moment this news was published, no casualty was reported from either sides.
The photos taken by those workers could be a key to reveal more horrifying facts regarding the separatist criminal group.
Free West Papua Movement as Media Darling
The Free West Papua movement has been a media darling for decades, having steady support from channels like Radio NZ (New Zealand), Guardian (UK), as well as smaller channels in Pacific island countries. They are still supplying the world with headlines like “Indonesian Colonization of West Papua”, “Slow Genocide”, among other things. In the most recent event, nearly all of affluent international newsrooms produced positive contents regarding the Free West Papua movement anniversary.
In the meantime, the news regarding violent murders executed by OPM/TPNPB of Free West Papua organization almost never make it to the top on social media. Partisan channels like Radio NZ is never interested in writing articles which may backlash the sympathy towards the separatist movement they have been supporting.
On the other hand, the Free West Papua movement is not slowing down on their international diplomacy campaign. United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) is their equivalent for international consulate. They introduced themselves to the international society as the victims of “Indonesian colonization”, as well as “target of genocide”.
The crime of Free West Papua organization is piling up quickly. Between January and August 2018 there have been 18 shootings by OPM, killing 20 people in the process. This article hasn’t even discussed about a number of kidnapping and hostaging done by the very same group. With this incident, the death tally increased to 51, and possibly there are more cases waiting to be investigated. However, thanks to the protection given by sympathizing media, the Free West Papua maintains the sympathy of its supporters.
The Indonesian government is being put in a sticky situation, where it has to protect the lives of its citizens, and defend itself against future allegations of human rights abuse. The Free West Papua movement is known to abuse the concept of human rights and use it as legitimate protection for their cold-blooded acts in Papua.
In international forum, Free West Papua is playing victim using their ULMWP as diplomacy wing. In Indonesia, they are spreading false propaganda of Indonesian colonization using their local headquarter called KNPB. Those organizations are washing the blood spilled by the actions of OPM/TPNPB, making it difficult for Indonesian government to show the world all the criminal doings of Free West Papua movement.