Sec-Gen DAP denies harbouring OPM

Sec-Gen DAP denies harbouring OPM

Cenderawasih Pos
Abridged in translation by TAPOL

The general secretary of DAP (Dewan Adat Papua), Papuan Customary Council has strongly denied that members of the OPM were hiding in their office when it was raided by the police on Friday.

Leo Imbiri said that among the fifteen people who were taken into custody by the police were two staff members of DAP.He denied that the office is a hiding place for OPM members and said that anyone who regards him/herself as part of a customary group (adat) is welcome to visit the office.

Responding to reports that two firearms had been found in the office, he said this was clearly the work of some individuals though he did know what their intentions were.' Perhaps this was because of carelessness by some young fellows or part of a deliberate scenario.'

He said that from the information he had gathered, it appears that the woman who was said to be the owner of the firearms was cooking food and at the moment of the raid, she had gone to the front intending to go out and buy something when she confronted by a man who offered to put her bag on the table. Thinking he was a friend of someone at the secretariat she let him take the bag. When the police came, they pushed her to the front and grabbed hold of the bag..

Imbiri said that at the time of the raid there were many people in the office but he knew nothing about the bag or the firearms that had allegedly been found.

He described the raid as an infringement of the rights of the indigenous people. He had received phone calls from many local DAP groups, saying that they were very worried about police raid.

He said that some people had said they had seen something being taken out of one bag and put into another bag, but no one knew what precisely had happened when the raid started and the front door was kicked in. The intention of the action, he said, seemed to be to discredit the adat people.

Some office equipment had been badly damaged, including a computer and a cupboard. 'We are compiling a list of the damaged goods to inform the police.' He said that this was a criminal act which had been perpetrated by none other that those in charge of combating crime.

He complained that several incidents that had occurred recently, such as the killing of Opinus Tabuni last August which had not yet been solved, while incidents of alleged makar (subversion) were quickly brought out into the open to be dealt with.

The legal adviser of DAP, Iwan Niode SH, said that the police had acted in violation of procedures according to which police carrying out an action such as had happened should have a search warrant, while the local government head should also be present to make sure that things did not get out of hand.

He also that it was quite untrue that among those arrested were members of the OPM; they were all people from various adat groups who happened to be in the office at the time.

The secretary general of AMPTPI (?), Markus Haluk said the police action was very worrisome. 'If there are suspicions that criminal actions are underway, the matter should be discussed, because this is a meeting place for adat people. It isn't an office for terrorists.'