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KST’s Vile Action Disturbs Christmas Celebrations in Papua

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By : Rebecca Marian )*

The Armed Separatist Group (KST) has the potential to disrupt Christmas celebrations in Papua. Since early December they have carried out several attacks that have resulted in casualties. People are asked to be aware of KST attacks, but they don’t need to be afraid to celebrate Christmas because the security forces will protect them and tighten security in Papua.

Papua is part of Indonesia and is recognized by international law. However, there are a small number of people who want Papua to be independent, and they founded the OPM (Free Papua Organization) and its affiliated organization, KST (Separatist and Terrorist Group). In practice, the KST became terrorists and forced the people to follow them to defect.

During December 2022, KST has carried out several attacks. They killed 3 motorcycle taxi drivers in the Gunung Bintang area, shot dead a bank employee in Puncak Regency. Then, KST also attacked a police convoy in the Yapen Islands, and a civilian who was there died from being shot by the group.

The public was furious at the KST for carrying out the constant attacks. Moreover, Papuans will soon be celebrating Christmas. Residents don’t want their happy day to turn scary, because of KST. Even though it could be that KST members also celebrate Christmas, but instead violently attack their own tribesmen.

The Papuan people are very enthusiastic ahead of Christmas because the majority celebrate it and are at the same time worried about KST. If there was a KST, they were scared because the attacks were indiscriminate, both immigrants, indigenous people, and security forces were also attacked. But they don’t need to worry because the authorities will carry out tight security to ensure that Christmas is celebrated in a conducive manner.

Deputy Chairperson for Peace Operations Public Relations Cartenz AKBP Arif Irawan stated that his party was prioritizing attention to the attacks carried out by KST. Especially when they were determined to carry out an attack in the Yapen area, which had so far been sterile from the group of defectors.

Christmas is only once a year and there should be no attacks, either at the church or elsewhere. Therefore security has been increased around the church and other places such as markets and supermarkets. This is because people will shop more than usual, to prepare for Christmas on December 25.

More intense security was carried out in areas in Papua which are often in conflict, such as Nduga, Intan Jaya and Yapen. The Carstensz Peace Task Force carried out tighter security so that the safety of the people on Cendrawasih Earth was maintained. Don’t let an attack result in injuries or fatalities.

Meanwhile, the Papuan youth leader Ali Kabiay stated that he firmly rejected the presence of KST and OPM (Free Papua Organization). The reason is because KST has the heart to carry out attacks, and the victims are Papuans themselves. Then, the attack was carried out ahead of Christmas so that it could make people feel terrorized and could not celebrate Christmas happily.

So far, Ali is known to be very brave in rejecting KST, and has been active in the Papuan Community Component movement. This movement was held to reject KST and its influence in the people of Cendrawasih Earth. Ali continues to spread teachings to the public that KST is dangerous and must be watched out for. Don’t be pro-KST because it’s tantamount to being a traitor to the country.

Ali also appealed to the people of Papua to have faith in the performance of the TNI and Polri in securing Christmas 2022. Don’t get scared and decide not to leave the house. They are allowed to carry out their activities as usual and worship, and don’t worry about KST, because there have been preventive measures taken by the authorities.

The conflict caused by KST opened people’s eyes that the problems in Papua are very complicated. Not only demands for independence by rebel groups. But it has spread to disputes that cause huge losses among immigrants. Moreover, the attack occurred before Christmas.

Therefore, there needs to be an appeal from community leaders who become mediators, that Papua is part of Indonesia. All citizens unite, not only indigenous Papuans but also immigrants. If they are united in fighting KST, the community is optimistic that the rebel group can be disbanded.

The security factor also needs to be considered, and the number of officers must also be increased. The security forces did not only focus on catching KST, but also on prevention. Spies can be deployed so that there are no attacks that take many lives like this ahead of Christmas celebrations.

The community is wary of the KST attack ahead of the Christmas holiday and the security forces are getting tighter in securing Papua. The rebel group is very detrimental because it repeatedly carried out attacks on civilians, and to the point of causing casualties. Christmas celebrations in Papua must be safe, therefore the TNI and Polri are working together to secure the Cendrawasih Land.

)* The author is a Papuan student living in Jakarta

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