Thursday, 30 July 2009

Indonesian military attacks PNG villages. Jakarta forced to apologise to PNG government

posted on infoPapua

By The National PNG
Jul 30, 2008, 16:45

1) Indons give word of no repetitions (The National PNG)
2) Students protest border incursions (The National PNG)
3) PNG to Formally Protest Indonesia Border Incursions (Pacific Magazine)
4) Indonesia to apologise for PNG border incursions: report (ABC)
5) Indonesians promise to apologise (The National PNG)
6) Indonesians raid village (The National PNG)
7) Border post in bad shape (The National PNG)

1) Indons give word of no repetitions

The National PNG 28/7/08

THE Indonesian government has assured PNG that there would be no repeat border incursions into PNG by its soldiers.

The assurance was conveyed to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Minister Samuel Abal by his Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirajudi, in Singapore last week.

There had been a number of alleged border incursions by the Indonesians in the last three months. PNG had protested through a diplomatic note conveyed through the Indonesian embassy in Port Moresby.

The apologies from the Indonesians blamed the incursions on “new recruits deployed to the border region”.

Reports said appropriate instructions had been issued to commanding officers in the border areas to deal with those responsible and ensure such incidents do not occur again.

Mr Wirajudi was also grateful that the PNG Government “exercised restraints” although these incidents do cause serious concerns.

Mr Abal told his counterpart that should occurrences of border incursions persist, PNG would seek to raise them in other forums such as Asean, Pacific Islands Forum and the United Nations.

“With our border areas developed and properly managed and secured, we can expect people from either side to live and enjoy normal lives,” Mr Abal told his Indonesian counterpart, referring to his recent statement in Parliament on the creation of a border development and management authority.


2) Students protest border incursions

The National PNG 28/7/08


A PEACEFUL protest march was held in Madang on Saturday by Divine Word University students over the alleged border incursions by Indonesian soldiers.

More than 500 students and Madang residents walked with placards through the town to the Bates oval where speeches were made.

The march was organised by international relations students at the university.

Protesters chanted and carried placards expressing concerns that the incursions were a violation of territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

They accused the Government of being silent, slow and indecisive over the incursions.

Speakers said the continuous incursions by the Indonesian soldiers and terrorising of PNG citizens was a threat to national security and an abuse of human rights.

Student leaders said the act of unprovoked aggression by the Indonesians should be totally condemned and shamed. No more apologies and excuses must be accepted.

They said monies like the US$40 million in an MP’s account in Singapore should be used to improve PNG’s security and surveillance along the border.

The students also called on the Government to immediately sack PNG Defence Force commander, Peter Ilau, for not advising Cabinet well on national security issues affecting the country.

They said that the Defence White Paper policy of downsizing the force was of poor judgment and must be abolished. Instead, PNGDF numbers must be increased so that enough men are stationed at the border.


PACIFIC Magazine

3)PNG to Formally Protest Indonesia Border Incursions

By Tereni Kens in Port Moresby

Friday: July 25, 2008

The Papua New Guinea government will be making a formal protest to the Indonesian government over the recent border incursions made by members of the Indonesian armed forces.

That’s the word from PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Samuel Abal, who spoke with Pacific Magazine before departing for Singapore yesterday to attend the annual ASEAN ministerial meeting and regional forum.

Abal said PNG-Indonesia bilateral relations in recent years had been cordial and he was concerned that the incursions could undermine relations between the two countries.

Whilst in Singapore Abal said he will take this up with his Indonesian counterpart Dr N. Hassan Wirajuda to express his concern and seek an explanation.

A joint ministerial commission meeting at the foreign minister level will be convened later this year as a means to maintaining closure dialogue between the governments of the two countries.

The National reports a confidential PNG Defense Force report on the incursions provided to the government last week highlighted seven instances of incursions by Indonesian soldiers into PNG territory in May, June and July.

On May 27, eight Indonesian Army soldiers who were inside PNG were ordered back by police, the report said.

On June 9, eight soldiers crossed into Wutung and defaced monument marker 1.

On June 13 two patrols (18 armed men) crossed over. Two TNI (Indonesian Army) soldiers crossed again on June 23.

His report further revealed that on June 28, company strength of armed TNI soldiers was intercepted by PNG Defense Force soldiers, who ordered them to retreat.

On July 5, six TNI crossed over and intimidated a retired policeman while, on July 6, four TNI soldiers crossed 7 km into PNG and fired shots at Bungon village, Skotchiau.

Concerned about the incursions, Forest Minister Belden Namah and Housing Minister Andrew Kumbakor visited the border area, and learnt of the incursions first hand on July 13.

The report said after they flew out in the Kumul aircraft that evening, an Indonesian military aircraft flew over Vanimo at about 7 p.m., violating PNG airspace.

Meanwhile, Abal will also be speaking with Australian foreign minister over the recent criticisms raised against PNG ministers by AusAid Minister Counsellor, Margareth Thomas.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News July 21, 2008

4)Indonesia to apologise for PNG border incursions: report

Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney

The Indonesian Government has reportedly agreed to make an official apology to Papua New Guinea for a least a dozen border incursions in the past three months.

Media outlets in Papua New Guinea are reporting claims that in the past three months there has been a number of incursions by Indonesia's military - based in its province of Papua - burning down at least 10 houses in one village and physically attacking locals in the region.

Last week Indonesia's Ambassador to Papua New Guinea was summoned before the acting Foreign Affairs Secretary, Kila Karo, and the national newspaper is reporting he has acknowledged PNG's concerns.

It is reported the ambassador has claimed the incursions were made by new recruits from Central Java unfamiliar with the PNG-Indonesian border boundaries and that any future incursions will be dealt with under Indonesian military law.


The National PNG 21//08

5) Indonesians promise to apologise


THE Indonesian government will make an official apology on 12 border incursions between May 27 and July 13 next week.

Indonesian Ambassador to PNG Bom Soejanto was summoned before the acting Foreign Affairs Secretary, Kila Karo, in Port Moresby last Thursday and conveyed his government’s position on the issue.

Foreign Affairs officials yesterday said PNG’s serious concerns on the alleged border crossings by Indonesian troops into Vanimo, Sandaun province, will be conveyed to his superiors in Jakarta this week.

Mr Soejanto said the incursions were made by new recruits from Central Java who were not familiar with the PNG-Indonesian border boundaries.

He said any future border incursions will be dealt with under Indonesian military rules.

Government officers said they would act on reports about the burning down of 10 houses, affecting about 100 Kwara villagers in Western province once official reports are received.

South Fly police commander Insp Peter Philip claimed last Thursday that Indonesians soldiers at Sota had crossed over into PNG territory on July 9 while in pursuit of a Papua New Guinean working at the Weam station.

They did not find the man and allegedly set some houses on fire, and gun-butted three Medapor villagers.

A joint border meeting will be held in Jayapura next week. Security issues are among matters for discussions.

The National PNG 18 July 2008

6) Indonesians raid village

ABOUT 100 villagers in Western province are displaced and homeless after Indonesian soldiers allegedly raided their village and burnt houses, police in the province said yesterday.
The raid was staged by a platoon-sized group of Indonesian soldiers, and police described it as an act of unprovoked aggression on PNG citizens living in Kwara village close to the PNG-Indonesian border last Tuesday.
South Fly police commander Insp Peter Philip said yesterday a platoon strength (about 25) of armed Indonesian soldiers crossed the border in search of an officer attached to the Weam district administration and burnt down 10 houses.
“The next day (July 9), a section strength (about 10) of armed Indonesian soldiers met three Medapor villagers in PNG territory and assaulted them with gun butts.
“The villagers, with traditional border crossing permits, were on their way to the Indonesian border station at Sota when they were assaulted,” Mr Philip said.
He said the officer the Indonesians were after was based at the PNG border station of Weam.
He had allegedly gone across to Sota early this month, got drunk with Indonesian officers, and behaved unruly.
Indonesian border security officers locked him up at their police station. However, he was released from the station with the help of some Indonesian friends but without the Sota’s Indonesian military commander’s permission.
“When the commander discovered what had happened, he sent soldiers across the border searching for the officer, and destroyed houses in the village,” Mr Philip said.
There is only one policeman at the Weam station, but he has no communication with Daru or Port Moresby.
Mr Philip said that the Indonesian soldiers’ action is uncalled for as the villagers were not involved with that officer.
“There was a similar situation early this year when Indonesians soldiers raided a village and killed a pig.
“During the border liaison meeting in Jayapura last May 26 -27, I had raised this issue about Indonesian soldiers’ unruly behaviours along the border.
“Indonesian officials had assured me that no such incidents will happen again. But the recent incidents showed that the Indonesians still have a long way to go in controlling their soldiers,” Mr Philip said.
Meanwhile, the National Executive Council has instructed the Foreign Affairs Minister to protest strongly to the Indonesian government over incursions into PNG by its troops.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu, during question time in Parliament, said Cabinet had been fully briefed on the matter and was very concerned.
“The Government has directed Foreign Affairs Minister and Secretary to send a diplomatic note on the continuous border incursions.”
Dr Temu said Defence Force commanders from both PNG and Indonesia have met over the issue.
He said the issue will also be raised at the joint PNG-Indonesia border liaison meeting scheduled for either August or September.
He said the PNG Government had moved to upscale its activities along the border with the Prime Minister giving directions for Treasurer and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch to take charge of the border programme.
He said Mr Pruaitch had put together a border development package to be brought before Cabinet for endorsement and implementation, which include improving monitoring and surveillance along the border.

7) Border post in bad shape

GOVERNMENT officers including PNG Defence Force personnel and police manning the PNG-Indonesian border post in Vanimo, Sandaun province, are facing chronic systematic problems.
Only two weeks after reports of an incursion by Indonesian military and the defacing of a PNG border monument, Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc and Sandaun administrator Joseph Sungi visited the border post on Wednesday.
They conducted interviews with government officials on site who revealed that they were faced with a chronic shortage of manpower. Defence, police and government officials manning the Wutung border post and Customs office all expressed similar sentiments.
There is no constant power and fuel supply.
A government official said PNG Defence Force soldiers at Wutung had to sell raffle tickets occasionally to raise enough money to pay for fuel.
Others said they had to wait for up to between two weeks and a month for cheques to be processed at the Waigani and Lae offices, resulting in delays and inconsistent supply of logistics.
In the nights when the Indonesian side of the border lights up like a city, the PNG border is in total darkness.
Seven people work at the Customs office at Wutung processing and checking about 200 people travelling to and from Indonesia a day. The Indonesian station is manned by more than 100 officials a shift.
“Ours is incompatible to the Indonesian side.
“They are serious about their presence at the border.
“Ours is more like a rural outpost.
“It is no surprise that their soldiers can wander onto our side of the border and do anything at will,” a PNG official said.
“The Indonesians are indirectly telling us that they can walk into our country anytime,” he said.
The Wutung post is serviced by one vehicle and, at most times, there is no fuel to run it. Officers had to catch PMVs to make a 50km trip into Vanimo town.
The Defence Force personnel on the ground number 18 instead of the required 32 soldiers. They have no vehicle.
Mr Zurenuoc said it was time the Government seriously considered decentralising funding and administrative powers.
He said the current system was handicapped where IRC, provincial affairs, quarantine, and police personnel and soldiers on the ground depend on their own offices for direction and funding.
Mr Zurenuoc wants to see that officials on the ground are authorised to make decisions regarding access to funding and logistics.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Honduras: Rafael Alegria has been released

Telesur, 25 July 2009

The Via Campesina’s leader in Honduras, Rafael Alegria, was freed last Saturday night in the Honduran town of Danli (south). He was hold detained for over 6 hours due to a supposed break of the curfew imposed by the de facto government who promoted the cup d’etat in the Centro-American country.

In an exclusive interview with the special correspondent of TeleSUR in Honduras, Madeleine Garcia, Alegria stated that he was moved from Posta, in the El Paraiso department (border with Nicaragua), to Danli, where he was arrested.

"They lock me in a cell with 45 other comrades detained (since earlier than myself) for the same reason. We had violated the curfew. Regardless, I told them that it was illegal (the measure taken) and that we could not accept it", said the leader who has stand on the struggle for longer than 28 days on a row for the return of the democracy and the legitimated President, Manuel Zelaya.

About the other 50 people “they already were imprisoned since the morning”. There were children and women amongst them.

Alegría specified that, while he was detained, several journalists from different international media arrived but they did also suffer different forms of repression from the police.

"We now by fact that while they were trying to get an interview from a 5metres distance, when the comrades (detainees) shouted ‘freedom’, they were pushed away and they messed up with their equipment. The Venezuelan media, which they were closely covering everything happening there, were also hassled, Alegria denounced.

“The release of the demonstrators happened thanks to the assistance of a human rights worker who intervened and freed us” the leader of Via Campesina confirmed.

In this sense, there has definitively been a violation of our human rights (…) they arrested us without a judicial warrant and we were imprisoned.

Linked to this statement, Rafael Alegria insisted about the illegality of the curfew imposed by the cup government. Right after, the leader said he would keep contact with his comrades who are with President Zelaya in the border area of Las Manos “to asses the situation and check over the different possibilities".

"We will stay on the struggle” affirmed Alegria, who said that “the co-ordination raised the fact that its crucial to keep up the resistance, both today and tomorrow (Sunday)".

Furthermore, he denounced the presence of hundreds of armed military forces at the border with Nicaragua. “To reach the village where he was detained (Posta), we crossed five roadblocks. It was not easy to get there. The road was jammed because of the high military presence around the Nicaragua and Honduras border”.

Later on, Madeleine Garcia interviewed Inspector Molina, from Danli’s police department, who repeated that “we are arresting people that breaks the rule (curfew). We are not out breaking peoples rights, this is a decree and it’s the law which has to be obeyed” said.

Regardless the wounded, or even the confirmed death of a citizen arrested in El Paraiso, the Inspector said that “we care for the security of all the Hondurans and we seek their cooperation with us”. “A curfew has been established. We have to understand it and enforce its compliance. We do not want to violate nobodies’ rights, but it is every Honduran duty to comply” concluded.

(activist translation by Viatransla)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

COLOMBIA: Assasination of farmers' leader, member of the ANC and the Minga Popular Resistance

Thursday, Jul. 02, 2009

JOSE Betancourth ANTONIO LOPEZ from the Association of Peasants of antioquean Bajo Cauca (ASOCBAC)

With anger and pain in the world today we denounce the vile assassination of farmers' leader JOSE ANTONIO LOPEZ Betancourth member of the Association of Peasants of antioquean Bajo Cauca (ASOCBAC) who was missing since Tuesday June 30 at 6 : 15 pm approximately, when he was going in a taxi from the town of Taraza Antioquía to El Doce.

Versions say it was down by men who tied him, took him away and was found today, July 2 in the morning buried near the aqueduct in the village of Piedras completely dismembered.

The comrade Jose Antonio was a spokesman for the marches by coca farmers, and on several occasions in which they signed agreements with national and departmental governments which were never fulfilled.

The comrade Jose Antonio arrived with the intention to unite efforts in the struggle, resistance and permanence in the territories.

Also he was member of the Political Committee of MINGA SOCIAL AND POPULAR RESISTANCE in which he actively participate in scheduled meetings, ans also in meetings with delegates of the national government.

He leaves behind his wife and 3 children grieving for his loss and claiming justice, he leaves behind a process of peasant struggle and resistance and a legacy of sacrificing his life in defense of the peasantry, and the message of unity, solidarity and resistance.

These facts are presented in the framework of democratic security policy of the president Alvaro Uribe Velez, in an area of military and paramilitary control, only 10 minutes from a checkpoint of the Army of Colombia and with presence of Police in urban areas.

We confirm once again that the government does not care about solving the problems of Colombian peasants and all of us who dare to demand we are branded as terrorists, brought to courts, killed or disappeared.

We appeal to the national and international sister organizations to demand from the Colombian State to clarify the facts, punish those responsible for his murder shall not remain in the impunity that reigns today in Colombia.

We send a warm and fraternal solidarity hug to the family of Jose Antonio, as well as to the comrades of ASOCBAC expressing our commitment to continue the struggle, resistance and following the example of our comrade and leader

National Agrarian Coordinator of Colombia CNA

Bogota, July 2, 2009

source: Colombia Indymedia