Intimidatie rond bezoek van Indonesische president aan Manokwari PDF Afdrukken

During the visit of the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Manokwari, the capital of the province of West Papua, on 22 January, his itinerary was devoted solely to making contact with officialdom without including a single occasion for the Papuan people to meet him and discuss their many problems with him face-to-face.

Moreover, during the whole of the brief visit, he was surrounded by heavily-armed security forces, giving the strong impression that there is a deep mistrust of Papuans and an unwillingness to use the occasion to listen to their concerns and grievances. Such conditions are not likely to make Papuans feel that the visit was in any way intended to allow them to speak to the President. Instead, they were kept at a distance all the time under conditions that can only be described as very intimidatory.



The following information has been received from sources in Manokwari about the visit there of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono:

From LP3BH-Manokwari, the Legal Aid Institute of Manokwari

On 21 January, the day before the visit to Manokwari of the President, there was a show of force by Kodim 1703 (District Military Command) in Manokwari.

The show of force took place in front of Swiss Bell-Hotel where the President was to stay and lasted for 30 minutes.

The troops involved in the show of force were from the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the Police Force (Polri) which, according to the military commander, Infantry Colonel Irham Waroihan, had been brought in from Fakfak, Sorong, Nabire, Biak and Jayapura. The number of security forces mobilised to provide security for the President was estimated at 2,500.

On 22 January at around 10am, the President and his entourage arrived under heavy guard in Manokwari from Sorong and went straight to the office of the Bupati (District Chief) of Manokwari, Drs Dominggus Mandacan who made a speech about the earthquake in Manokwari on 4 January, including details about the number of victims and the measures taken by the local administration.

In preparation for the occasion, the Bupati's office was given a two-day face-lift, because its walls were covered with holes; the holes were plastered and the road was asphalted. As this was going on, 20 members of the army and the elite police force Brimob were stationed in front of the financial affairs office while other offices were not placed under guard.

Prior to the visit, on 18 January, troops from the TNI intimidated civilians and members of NGOs in Manokwari. on that day, Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH, received a visit from two local journalists from Sorong and Manokwari who interviewed him about the actions that were being planned by the Human Rights Advocacy Team for the People of West Papua, which has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the verdict of the High Court sentencing Jack Wanggai and ten others for subversion. After the journalists left, a local journalist told us that he had received a phone call from First Lieutenant Tryas of Kodim intelligence who questioned him about their interview of Warinussy and asked whether he had said anything about the planned visit to Manokwari of the President. When the journalist said that he had only spoken about the subversion case against Jack Wanggai and others, he put down the phone.

Then on 20 January, an intel officer from Kodim met Piter Ihowati of the West Papua National Authority, and told her that five members of the WPNA have been named on a Wanted Persons List which was issued in connection with the President's visit. The five names were: Markus Yenu, Daniel Yenu, Billy Auparay, Benoni Rumbiak and Piter Ihowati.

On Thursday, 22 January the chief of police of Manokwari, Pit Wahyu together with several of his men visited the Lembaga Pemasyarakatan ( Manokwari Prison) to see the two convicted men being held there, Jack Wanggai and Elimelek Kaiway. He warned them in the following words: 'You had better look out, don't start making trouble. The President is visiting Manokwari today.' This was a blatant act of intimidation from the chief of police. He also instructed twenty members of Brimob to stand on guard outside the prison, armed with automatic weapons. There was also a brief dispute between the prisoners and the prison authorities, when the prisoners objected to the presence of members of Brimob inside the prison, who were standing fully armed in front of their cells, because this had made the prisoners feel afraid about their personal security and intimidated by this show of force of the police and Brimob.


Report received from a contact in Manokwari:

During the visit to Manokwari of the President, the local community was not given any opportunity to meet the President and present their aspirations for the KPK, Commission to Combat Corruption, to set up an office in Manokwari.

The President and his wife visited the Island of Mansinam which is where two Europeans, Ottow and Geisler, landed on 5 February 1855 to spread Christianity for the first time in Papua.

During the visit there was no occasion for questions and answers with the local Papuans, which was highly regrettable bearing in mind that there are very many things that Papuan people would like to raise with the President. Furthermore, the President was surrounded by a tightly-knit circle of fully-armed members of the security forces.

One of their aspirations is for the KPK to open an office in Manokwari. I have personally heard many complaints from intellectuals about the prevalence of corruption. The budget of the province of West Papua amounts to 7.7 trillion rupiahs, and we can only hope that as much of that budget as possible will be used to improve the welfare of the local people.

Please convey to the outside world that the people of Papua and their concerned NGOs wish to pressurise the Indonesian Government for the establishment of an anti-corruption office in Papua.