Security disturbances exaggerated, says military

Security disturbances exaggerated, says military
, 12 July 2010

During a recent ceremony, a local military officer refused to label the perpetrators of recurrent security disturbances in Papua as "enemies".

"We have no enemies in Papua, but a small part of the community who opposes the Republic of Indonesia claim to be the people of Papua in their fight for their personal interests," Sorong Military Commander Col. Inf. Hironimus Guru said during a recent military ceremony.

The ceremony marked the handover of the Mimika Military District Command post from Lt. Col. Inf. Refrizal to Lt. Col. Inf. Bone C. Pardede, last Friday.

Hironimus conceded security disturbance in Mimika regency that had been blamed on separatist groups. Occasional clashes involving rival resident groups in Kwamki Lama Village also exposed the region's vulnerability to horizontal conflict, he said.

However, Hironimus said the security disturbances were under control.

"All *security disturbances* have been exaggerated, as conditions in Papua and Mimika are in fact normal," he said, underlining the urgent need for solid cooperation between the military (TNI) and police in the region.

Hironimus said security affairs in Papua were not the sole domain or responsibility of the military, but all elements of communities in the province.

"Members of the military must demonstrate a good attitude and build good interaction with the community," Hironimus said.

The comments were expressed following a report that gun shots were again heard in the working area of PT Freeport Indonesia. Several witnesses said they had heard shots but police had yet to confirm the report.

"We are still checking the sites," Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Muhammad Sagi told The Jakarta Post by phone last Wednesday.

He assured that security on the access road to Tembagapura from Timika, the capital of Mimika, as well as from Timika to Tembagapura, was relatively normal.

"Activities are running as usual," he said.

Witnesses said a group of unidentified people fired guns at a convoy of buses transporting employees of PT Freeport Indonesia from Tembagapura to Gorong-Gorong Terminal, Timika, between Mile 28 and Mile 29, at about 12:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

The shots shattered the windows of one bus driven by Nicolaus Rumbrapuk. A few hours later Mimika Police searched the Mile 28, 29, 30 areas and the airport for evidence.

"We're checking to see if the windows were shot at or had stones thrown at them," Sagi said.

Meanwhile, Mimika Regent Klemen Tinal said his administration had continued to promote development, from rural to urban areas, focusing on village communities.

"We have focused on infrastructure, the economy, and the empowerment of village communities," he said.