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Attacking Civilians Again, KST Papua Must Take Firm Action

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Violent incidents in Papua, especially those involving Separatist and Terrorist Groups (KST), have again shaken and broken our hearts. On Tuesday (31 October 2023), deadly terror took the life of an innocent civilian, Jhony Simanjuntak, in Pruleme Village, Mulia District, Puncak Jaya Regency, Central Papua.

This incident is clear evidence of how fragile the security situation is in the region, which has too often witnessed armed conflict and violence.

Head of Cartenz 2023 Peace Operations, Kombes Faizal Ramadhani, confirmed this tragic incident. However, until now, the identity of the shooter has not been identified, and investigations are ongoing. Mulia District, which previously experienced a series of KST violence several years ago, has long experienced a relatively conducive situation.

Faizal explained that the last time in Puncak Jaya was last April. But in Mulia the last (there was an addition) was around four to five years ago.

However, regarding the chronology of the incident, Faizal admitted that the authorities could not provide detailed information because the shooter had fled before the security forces arrived at the location. No gunfire occurred, so there are still many questions that need to be answered in the investigation process.

The day before, the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), also known as KST, claimed to have killed a member of the Indonesian National Army (TNI) and burned a piece of heavy equipment in Maybrat Regency, Southwest Papua.

Even though KST announced their actions in a video, the West Papua Police denied there were any casualties in the incident.

In a video released by TPNPB Spokesperson, Seby Sambom, Arnoldus Kocu, Leader of TPNPB Region II Kamuntan Raya Kodap IV Sorong Raya, admitted that his group had attacked the TNI post in Ayata Village.

They claimed to have killed a TNI member and set fire to an excavator. However, the Head of Public Relations of the West Papua Regional Police, Police Commissioner Adam Erwindi, denied this claim and stated that to date there have been no reports of casualties from the incident. The perpetrator is still under investigation.

This incident has created concerns about the security situation in Papua which is increasingly heating up and demands a firm response. KST has threatened peace and the lives of innocent civilians.

In facing these challenges, authorities must unite and ensure the protection of civilians is a top priority. Firm action against perpetrators of violence must be an inevitable action in efforts to restore security in the region.

Protection of civilians must always be a top priority in facing security threats such as those posed by KST in Papua. All parties, including the central government, local governments and security forces, must work together to ensure the safety and welfare of civilians.

Strict law enforcement against perpetrators of violence is also important. A thorough investigation and fair judicial process must be carried out to bring the perpetrators to justice. This will send a strong message that acts of violence will not be tolerated and will be strictly punished.

In addition, a preventive approach is also needed. This involves efforts to address the roots of conflict and discontent in Papua. This includes steps to increase the provision of autonomy, improve Papuans’ access to basic services such as education and health, and create decent jobs.

The big challenge for the government is to maintain a balance between strict law enforcement and comprehensive prevention efforts. The government must carry out its obligations to maintain security and order, but must also listen to the aspirations of the Papuan people and try to find a just political solution.

The Papuan people also have an important role in resolving this conflict. Dialogue and openness must be promoted at all levels of society to overcome dissatisfaction and disputes. All parties must try to maintain peace and avoid actions that could worsen the situation.

Violent incidents that continue to occur in Papua, both carried out by KST and in response to security forces, have created uncertainty and tension that continues to haunt the region.

Renewed attacks on innocent civilians have raised deep concern, and we must unite to restore a sense of security and peace to the people of Papua.

In facing this increasingly complex threat, strong coordination between security forces and wise policies is needed. We invite all elements of society, government and authorities to unite in taking firm action against the KKB and prioritizing the protection of civilians. Papua is an integral part of Indonesia, and peace there is our shared responsibility.

Through firm steps and strong cooperation, we can bring back a sense of security to the Papuan people who have lived in the shadow of violence for too long.

Reflecting on KST’s brutal actions, the Papuan people unanimously fully support the TNI/Polri and other security agencies to take firm action against KST. With this firm action, it is hoped that the situation throughout Papua will be conducive and development can run optimally.

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