Indonesian Military to Take Over Construction in Papua
Jakarta, MINA — Indonesia’s military will take over construction of a massive infrastructure project in Papua after a massacre of workers earlier this month, RNZ reported.
At least 16 employees from state-owned company Istaka Karya were killed by fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army, who accused them of being military spies.
The workers were building a bridge in Nduga regency when they were rounded up and later executed.
Antara News reported the military will resume work on the bridge, as well as on the 4,000-kilometre Trans-Papua Highway.
Combat engineers will carry out the construction, with hundreds of extra security personnel deployed to the area.
President Joko Widodo has pledged that infrastructure work in Papua will continue, despite the violence.
Kopassus denies reports of Papua deployment
A spokesman with Indonesia’s Kopassus special forces has denied troops have been deployed to Papua’s Highlands.
A major joint operation between Indonesian military and police in pursuit of the West Papua Liberation Army is underway in Papua’s rugged interior.
The Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the murders of at least 16 construction workers and a soldier this month.
With extra Indonesian troops deploying to the region, Tribun Medan reports that there’s been “clarification” after local media suggested President Joko Widodo had ordered a Kopassus unit to Papua.
But Kopassus Chief of Information Lieutenant Colonel Denden Sumarlin said the special forces, who are ostensibly involved with counter-terrorism operations, were not involved in the Papua operation. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)