Yerica Lai (The Jakarta Post) Tue, February 8, 2022

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Papuan students demonstrate in favor of Papuan independence at the police headquarters in Surabaya on Dec. 1, 2021, to coincide with the anniversary of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)

Indonesian military (TNI) chief Gen. Andika Perkasa has offered a new softer approach to resolving the long-standing conflict in the country’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua. But experts say integrated actions among cross-sector stakeholders are needed to solve the complex problems facing the Papuan people. Since his appointment late last year, Andika has promised to move away from the military approach, promising a softer, nonmilitary strategy aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the Papuan people. But multiple incidents that occurred recently show that there is little sign of a de-escalation of the conflict between armed criminal groups and the military and police, which has claimed lives on both sides and among civilians.

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