West Papua Liberation Army in fresh campaign against Indonesia
21 February 2018 – radionz.co.nz
The West Papua National Liberation Army’s central command in the Papuan Highlands has made a fresh declaration of war against Indonesian military.
The Liberation Army is the armed wing of the Free West Papua Movement. Since forming in the early 1970s after Indonesia took control of West Papua, the army has been waging a sporadic guerilla campaign for independence with limited weaponry.
However, it’s been linked to a spate of skirmishes with Indonesian security forces in the Highlands region of Papua province in the past few months.
It claimed responsibility for the killing of an Indonesian soldier in remote Puncak Jaya regency last week.
The Army’s recently appointed Chief of Field operations, Major General Telenggen Lekkagak, has issued a new declaration about driving Indonesian forces out of Papua.
He said that as of last month, the Liberation Army had ordered a general mobilisation of all its soldiers in Papua to carry out operations against what it calls «the invaders».
Although its membership has, in the past, been divided into various groups over West Papua’s rugged interior, a spokesman for the Army says all of its wings are now united.
The Liberation Army also wants to close the operations of foreign companies that are exploiting Papua’s resources.
Major General Telenggen specifically mentioned the oil and gas multi-national BP with its gas project in Bintuni Bay, and the US mining giant Freeport which runs the massive Grasberg gold and copper mine in Mimika.
The Freeport mine, which is one of Indonesia’s largest single sources of revenue, has long been the subject of West Papuan grievances over environmental and social impacts.
As well, Papuans have complained about not being consulted over the control of Freeport, and about not gaining any benefit from its lucrative operations.
Attacks by the Liberation Army on Indonesian security forces have often occurred in the area around Freeport, and have at times extended to attacks on the miner’s infrastructure and personnel.
In the declaration, Major General Telenggen says that Papua’s resources must be protected for the sake of West Papuan independence.
«As long as Indonesia occupies our homeland, the war’s resistance continues until Papuan independence becomes real,» read an English version of the Army’s declaration.