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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09JAKARTA876 2009-05-20 07:03:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
Cable title:  

PAPUA -- SUSPECTED ANTI-JAKARTA MILITANTS

Tags:   PGOV PINS ID 
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VZCZCXRO8655
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #0876 1400703
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 200703Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2370
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 4198
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L JAKARTA 000876 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, EAP/ANP
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2019
TAGS: PGOV PINS ID
SUBJECT: PAPUA -- SUSPECTED ANTI-JAKARTA MILITANTS
REPORTEDLY SEIZE SMALL AIRSTRIP

REF: JAKARTA 687 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Pol/C Joseph L. Novak, reasons 1.4(b+d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: Suspected anti-Jakarta militants have
reportedly seized a small airstrip in a remote, rugged region
of Papua in eastern Indonesian. The GOI is sending police to
the region to restore control. The apparent seizure of the
airstrip is the latest in a slew of recent security-related
incidents in the restive Papuan region. Some observers
speculate that anti-Jakarta Papuans are trying to use the
national election campaign timeframe to publicize their
cause. END SUMMARY.

AIRSTRIP REPORTEDLY SEIZED



2. (U) There has been another security incident in the
restive Papua region of eastern Indonesia. On May 17,
suspected anti-Jakarta rebels reportedly seized control of a
small airstrip in the remote Mamberamo Hilir District in
Papua's central highlands. The airstrip is located
approximately 180 miles from the provincial capital of
Jayapura. A spokesman for the Indonesian police said
militants were joined by youths from the region in seizing
control of the airstrip. The small group was equipped with
firearms and radio equipment. It remains unclear whether the
suspected rebels made any specific demands. The group
reportedly has hung the banned Papuan "Morning Star" flag
over a building at the airstrip.

GOI SENDS IN THE POLICE



3. (U) The GOI is intent on re-establishing control. Papua
Police Chief General Bagus Ekodanto said that personnel from
elite units, including Detachment-88 and the Mobile Brigade,
have been dispatched to re-take the airstrip. Security
forces continue to have difficulties reaching the area,
however. The rugged region is accessible only by air or
boat, complicating matters for the police. The Indonesian
military reportedly may join the operation, providing
logistical and helicopter transport to the remote area.
Ekodanto said the GOI has contacted Papuan religious and
community leaders in the hopes of negotiating a peaceful
resolution to the incident.

A SLEW OF INCIDENTS



4. (C) The apparent seizure of the airstrip is the latest in
a slew of recent security-related incidents in the restive
Papuan region. These attacks--all of which have been
relatively small scale--have spiked in the past several
weeks. Some observers speculate that anti-Jakarta Papuans
are trying to use the national election campaign timeframe to
publicize their cause. (Note: The presidential election
takes place in July; national parliamentary elections were
held in April.)



5. (C) It is unclear whether the violence involves the
outlawed separatist Papau Freedom Movement (OPM). The OPM is
believed to continue to operate, but to be quite small.
There is no indication, in any case, that the latest
ratcheting up in tensions represents a serious challenge to
the GOI. That said, the situation underscores the need for
continued outreach by the government to Papuans, even as the
GOI works to make autonomy provisions more effective.
HUME