President Goes to Papua, Police on Alert for Separatist Flag-Unfurling

President Goes to Papua, Police on Alert for Separatist Flag-Unfurling
TEMPO Interactive, 22 November 2010
By: Jerry Omona

Jayapura. The police have arrested three people for unfurling the Bintang Kejora flag last Saturday, or one day after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s arrival in the province. The President will be in Jayapura for two days to officially open the National Student Executive Board meeting at Cenderawasih University and give guidance at the Regional Financial Capacity Reinforcement Forum at the Papua Governor’s office.

The police claimed that the nine people detained were members of the West Papua Revolutionary Soldiers. They were at Piramid Village in Jayawijaya Regency to see one of their member’s family who was in mourning.

At that time, they unfurled the Bintang Kejora flag and stuck it on the ground. “Our member seized the flag and wood they used to unfurl the flag,” said the Wamena Police Chief, Comm. I Gede Sumerta Jaya, yesterday.

Rumor spread among the people that the nine people were abused. In its report, the West Papua National Committee said the nine people - Meki Tabuni, Nes Wenda, Oscar Kolago, Pius Wandikbo, Kalialoma Inggibal, Emina Wenda, Andius Ginia, Dani Tabuni, and Ali Yikwa— were abused when they were arrested and until late in the evening.

Gede denied the report, stressing that Meki and his friends were treated properly. “There was no abuse. It is not true that they are in critical condition due to beatings.”

The Papua Regional Police’s spokesperson, Comm. Wachyono, the flag-unfurling was not related to the President’s arrival. He also denied that the incident of unfurling the separatist flag like when the President visited in Maluku in June three years ago, will happen again.

“That will not happen in Papua,” he said, adding that “It is not true that this is related with the unfurling of the Bintang Kejora flag in Jayawijaya because Jayawijaya is very far from Jayapura."

To confirm this, Wachyono said that thousands of police and the Indonesian Armed Forces personnel were deployed spread around the President during his visit in Papua. “The unfurling of the Bintang Kejora flag in front of the President will never happen,” he said.