Police give three-week ultimatum for return of weapons seized on 7 January in Puncak Jaya

Police give three-week ultimatum for return of weapons seized on 7 January in Puncak Jaya

Cenderawasih Pos
Translation by Tapol

The authorities in West Papua are making strenuous efforts to persuade a group of Papuans who launched a raid on a police post in Tingginambuh to return the weapons along with ammunition which they seized during the raid. Tingginambuh is located Poncak Jaya, in the Central Highlands.

The deputy governor, Alex Hesegem said they hoped that the local administration would try to secure the return of the the weapons as the best way to avoid a physical conflict over the incident. If the weapons are not returned the security forces might well carry out sweepings in the area which would cause misunderstandings with the local community. He hoped that the church would assist in the matter. and called on OPM groups not to cause disturbances in the area.We want Papua to be a land of Peace and hope those still in the forest would return to the fold of the Republic of Indonesia.

Meanwhile a report from Puncak Jaya said that incident had caused a halt in the local activities of the government, the schools and other activities. At present efforts to get the return of the weapons were using the persuasive approach, hoping families, customary groups, the youth would help get the weapons back.

The incident has caused fear among the local people, many of whom have abandoned their homes and fled into the forest while offices and schools were not functioning, but hopefully things would return to normal in a couple of weeks. The police were questioning a number of people about the incident. A deadline of three weeks has been set for the return of the weapons, after which other action would be taken.

Earlier, the chief of police admitted that the raid had occurred on 7 January because the local policemen had been too lax and there were only two men guarding the post at the time. At the time, around twenty people were watching TV at the post while the police officers were eating in another room. It was while this was happening that the raid took place when the 4 weapons were taken, along with some ammunition. The raid was mounted by a group led by Dekilas Tabuni who had been among the people watching the TV. They are believed to be part of the OPM group led by Goliat Tabuni. He admitted that if they had been more watchful, the incident would not have happened.

He said this should be a lesson for the police in an area like Tingginambut in the interior which is an area of unrest and armed rebels are known to be active.

Asked whether the police would bring in other forces to help, he said at the moment they are relying on local leaders to secure the return of the weapons, hoping that they would use the time to make an approach to the OPM to return the weapons. If this doesn't happen within three week, the security forces will undertake their own searches, helped by personnel from the Cenderawasih military command