Sunday, August 14, 2011

Secret Indonesia Report on Papua Rebel 'Threat'

A confidential report on Papuan separatists prepared by Indonesia's elite Kopassus military unit claimed armed groups stood ready for guerrilla war but had proof of just one weapon for every 10 men. The report "Anatomy of Papuan Separatists" was published by Australia's Fairfax newspapers on Saturday, and claimed the people of the resource-rich eastern province were "easily influenced by separatist ideas."

"Irrational demands for customary rights to land and limited transportation infrastructure [have] hampered economic growth," the report said. "Obedience and loyalty of Papuans toward their customary/religious leaders is very high, to the point that it has primacy over law and creates opportunities for horizontal conflict."

Based on extensive surveillance operations in the special autonomous region, home to some 2.7 million people, the report contains dossiers on key figures in the Papuan independence movement, and lists its international sympathizers. US democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, British Labor member of parliament Andrew Smith and ex-Papua New Guinea leader Michael Somare are among the large group of alleged "Free Papua" allies.

The list includes politicians, academics, journalists, aid workers and religious leaders.

Kopassus, an elite special unit accused of widespread abuse mostly under the rule of the late Indonesian dictator Suharto, said there were armed agitators "experienced and able to conduct a guerrilla war/survive in the forest, spread throughout almost every regency in Papua." But they numbered just 1,129 and had 131 weapons and four grenades between them, the report said. The Kopassus report maps the main resistance groups, their past

actions and their alleged ringleaders, and is among hundreds of intelligence briefs obtained by Fairfax showing significant surveillance of the restive region on the western half of the island of New Guinea.

About 10,000 Papuans protested for independence from Indonesia earlier this month in the provincial capital Jayapura, calling for a referendum before a heavily armed police presence. Indigenous Melanesian rebels often armed with little more than bows
and arrows are fighting a low-intensity insurgency against Indonesian rule to end what they say is the oppression and exploitation of the Papuan people.

The Indonesian military has long been accused of serious human rights abuses against Papuan civilians, as well as massive corruption in the form of protection rackets for mining operations and illegal logging. Agence France-Presse

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