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KST Papua Makes a Black Record for Earth of Cendrawasih


By: Devaryo Valarie )*

The Papuan Terrorist Separatist Group (KST) has left many black marks on the Earth of Cenderawasih. Various KST crimes and terror acts resulted in many casualties among civilians and security forces. Most recently, KST killed a TNI member on behalf of Sertu Ismundandar in a shootout in Muara District, Puncak Jaya Regency, Central Papua Province. Apart from that, KST has still not freed Susi Air pilot Captain Philip Mark Merthens to date, who was taken hostage at Paro Airport, Nduga Regency, Papua Mountains on February 7 2023.

Not a few KST actions have hampered the development process in the Papua region. One of them, namely KST in Maybrat, Southwest Papua, deliberately carried out an attack at the Community Health Center project location. The exact motive is that they want to separate themselves from the Republic of Indonesia and hinder the development process in the Maybrat area. Such conditions are certainly very disturbing and disrupt the activities of the Papuan people.

The Papua Regional Police (Polda) recorded 196 acts of violence carried out by the Separatist Terrorist Group (KST) throughout 2023. Of that number, there were fatalities and injuries from both the TNI, Polri and the community. In detail, 23 TNI members were killed and 24 people were injured. There were 3 National Police members who died, and 7 people were injured. Meanwhile, 37 people died, 50 people were injured and 1 person was taken hostage.

The Papua Regional Police itself throughout 2023 has carried out phase I and phase II of the Cartenz Peace Operation which is focused on 9 operational areas with a total of 98 law enforcement or non-law enforcement activities.

From this operation, the Papua Regional Police succeeded in confiscating 32 weapons and 1,279 ammunition, as well as processing justice against 7 Political Criminal Groups (KKP), 33 KST members and law enforcement against 19 KST people.

Papua Police Chief Inspector General Pol. Mathius Fakhiri said that KST Papua’s actions were still a threat that caused fear among residents, especially immigrants. Therefore, the security forces continue to prioritize a welfare approach in dealing with KST Papua. The Papua Regional Police are maximizing efforts to take a more humane approach, which is expected to be able to answer various problems which have often been a trigger factor for security disturbances in society.

The role of regional governments, especially regents, SKPD and DPRD, is expected to appear at the front so that the public does not feel awkward being directly involved in police activities.

Papuan people’s concerns about KST were also expressed by Papuan Youth Leader/Secretary General of the DPP Barisan Merah Putih Republic of Indonesia, Ali Kabiay. He said that the Terrorist Separatist Group (KST) in Papua had killed many civilians, burned public facilities and hampered development in Papua.

As a Papuan Youth Leader, Ali Kabiay appealed to all people in the Land of Papua to support the security forces to resolve and take firm action against KST in conflict areas so that people can carry out their activities safely and peacefully. His party also said that KST must immediately release the hostage, Susi Air Pilot Captain Philip Mark Merthens, because he was innocent.

Meanwhile, the development of the handling of the Susi Air pilot who is still being held hostage by KST Papua received an explanation from the Commander of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command (Pangdam) Major General TNI Izak Pangemanan. He said efforts to free New Zealand hostage Philip Mark Mehrtens from the Separatist Terrorist Group (KST) in Papua were still in progress.

The TNI is actually very capable of freeing the hostages, especially with the supporting equipment they have. However, this was not done because releasing the hostages prioritized negotiations to avoid casualties, both among the community and the hostages themselves.

Izak really appreciates the steps taken by the Acting Regent of Nduga and other parties by approaching the Terrorist Separatist Group (KST) to free the hostage who works as a pilot for the Susi Air airline. They hope that KST will immediately release Philip Mehrtens, who has been held hostage for more than a year and is safe.

Pangdam Cenderawasih added that freeing the hostages would take time and this was conveyed when receiving a visit from the ambassador and attache from the New Zealand Embassy recently. Everyone must be patient because negotiations are ongoing. Don’t let there be any more victims. The hostage and the group holding him hostage are still around Nduga Regency. The hostage’s condition is fine so far.

Handling KST Papua must be the main focus of all parties so that they do not write more black marks in the Land of Papua. The government, security forces and all elements of society need to work together to eradicate KST in order to maintain security stability on Earth of Cenderawasih. This effort is also to strengthen national unity and integrity in protecting the integrity of the Republic of Indonesia from the KST separatist movement.

)* The author is a student from Papua in Surabaya

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