Indonesia appoints new military commander to West Papua and Papua

Radio New Zealand International, 19 January 2010

 

Indonesia appoints new militay commander to West Papua and Papua

& Free Papua Movement appoints new military commander

 

Indonesia’s military has appointed a former Kopassus special forces officer, Major General Hotma Marbun, as the new military commander of West Papua and Papua provinces. It comes as the Free Papua Movement, or the OPM, has appointed a new Commander of its own military wing to replace Kelly Kwalik who was shot dead by Indonesian police last month.
 

Jeck Kemong has been appointed head of the West Papuan National Liberation Army, or the TPN, and will also take over the regional command of Nemang Kawi.

Kelly Kwalik, who was a popular Papuan separatist leader for almost four decades, was shot in a police raid in Timika in the Indonesia’s Papua region last month, having evaded security forces for years.

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, which includes the OPM, has released a statement confirming the appointment of General Kemong to take over from Kelly Kwalik who it says left behind him various revolutionary duties which must be completed in a short period of time.

In recent years the poorly-armed OPM has focused on pushing for dialogue and other peaceful forms of resolving the Papuan bid for self-determination.

Johnny Blades (Radio New Zealand) reports: “The OPM has appointed Jeck Kemong as new head of the West Papuan National Liberation Army. While it is poorly armed and has in recent years focussed on a peaceful push for Papuan self-determination, the OPM says Kelly Kwalik left behind various revolutionary duties which must be completed in a short period of time. The Indonesian military, which aims to wipe out Papuan separatism, is considering establishing a new military command in Papua in addition to its large troop escalation of the last three years. The military says it must remain vigilant in keeping security in the troubled Papua region. However analysts maintain that numerous army-affiliated militia continue to spark violence throughout Papua and remain that region’s key security threat. I’m Johnny Blades.”