Illegal arms trade in Papua strong: AIDP

Illegal Arms Trade
Report on the investigation into the illegal trade in firearms and ammunition in Tanah Papua launched by the Alliance for Democracy for Papua in Jayapura City on Friday (1/7/2022). – Jubi/Theo Kelen

Jayapura, Jubi – Executive Director of the Alliance for Democracy for Papua (AIDP) Latifah Anum Siregar said the illegal firearms and ammunition trade network in Papua was very strong. Many cases of illegal arms trade have been decided by the courts but the major suppliers and financiers in the illegal trade have not been touched by the legal process.

On Friday, July 1, 2022, AlDP launched an investigation report titled “Papua Illegal Firearms and Ammunition Trade”. The report is the result of an investigation into various cases of illegal firearms and ammunition trade from 2011 to 2021.

Siregar said that the various cases of illegal arms trade that made it to court only punished the perpetrators in the field. In the past 10 years, none of the funders was ever prosecuted.

In fact, arms trafficking in Papua involves a very large amount of money. “Oftentimes, the money was received first without weapons. They dared to pay up to Rp 2.3 billion. Why? Because the network is strong. It’s like, ‘Okay, go ahead, I’ve paid for it, the weapons can come later,” Siregar told Jubi on Friday.

Siregar suspected the relationship between buyers and sellers had long existed and was well-maintained. “The network is multi-layered. In fact, in one arms trade case, there were more than three intermediaries,” said Siregar.

AlDP report also identified that the illegal arms trade in Papua involved the army or police. Of the 51 people convicted of arms trafficking cases between 2011 and 2021, 14 were soldiers and six were police. Other than that, there are also four members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), three West Papua National Committee activists, and the rest are civilians.

Siregar further questioned why the illegal firearms suppliers in Papua were never prosecuted. She stated that every firearm traded in Papua had a complete serial number so the police should have been able to trace the origin.

“Even though it is clear that the weapon has a serial number, why wasn’t the serial number traced? The investigators must have also been told where the weapons came from but why haven’t the security officers involved as suppliers investigated?? If we ask the court about the matter, the court says such information was not disclosed by the police,” said Siregar.

She said the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police must strengthen their internal supervision to uncover illegal firearms and ammunition trade networks in Papua. The government needs to reveal the main suppliers or providers, as well as the funders for buying illegal weapons. “Because trade destroys humanity and threatens the peace process from occurring in Papua,” said Siregar. (*)

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