MPRB urges TNI-police and Imigration curb illegal mining in Wasirawi

Chairman of the Cultural Institute of the West Papuan People's Assembly, Maxsi Nelson Ahoren. (Jubi/Hans Arnold Kapisa).

Manokwari, Jubi – The West Papua People’s Assembly (MRPB) has urged the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and the Immigration Office in Manokwari to immediately take steps to curb illegal gold mining activities in Wasirawi Village, Masni District, Manokwari Regency, which are suspected to have been controlled by foreign parties.

MRPB chair Maxsi Nelson Ahoren said that his party had received complaints from the community who owned the customary land where the gold mining sites were, saying that a number of large investors in the illegal activities were suspected to be non-Indonesian citizens.

“Today we received a visit from a group of indigenous peoples who own customary rights in Wasirawi Village, they suspect that there are foreign parties capitalizing on hundreds of mining workers in the area,” said Maxsi Nelson Ahoren on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

He said that the gold mining resumed operations in the past two years due to a lack of supervision and control by the government and law enforcement officers in West Papua.

“Between 2016 and 2018, there have been arrests of hundreds of illegal miners including foreigners when the West Papua Police were led by Insp. Gen. Martuani Sormin and XVIII Kasuari Military Command led by Lt. Gen. (Ret) Joppie Onisimus Wayangkau,” he said.

Maxsi Nelson Ahoren said the MRPB would soon hold a meeting with the governor of West Papua, Mankowari regent, and the Arfak Mountains regent to discuss curbing illegal mining activities in the two areas.

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Seblon Mandacan, one of the land right owners in Wasirawi, said that hundreds of excavators were used in the mining, posing a threat to forest damage and hydrological functions in the upper of the Wariori River.

“There are hundreds of heavy equipment with more than 3,000 workers at the Wasirawi gold mines. In December 2021, the gold produced from this activity was more than 2 kilograms,” he said.

The Immigration Office Class II Manokwari recorded that throughout 2021 there were 1,237 foreigners from 42 countries in Manokwari, dominated by Filipinos 645 people and 106 Chinese. Head of the Immigration Office Class II Manokwari Iman Teguh Adianto said there was an increase in the issuance of Limited Stay Permits (ITAS) to 1,201 foreigners from 921 in 2020.

Reporter: Hans Kapisa
Editor: Edho Sinaga

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