Twenty military and police charged for gun trade in Papua in the past 10 years

Papua
Launch of the investigation report of the Democratic Alliance for Papua regarding the illegal trade in firearms and ammunition in Papua which took place in Jayapura City, Friday (1/7/2022). - Jubi/Theo Kelen

Jayapura, Jubi – In the last 10 years, 14 soldiers and 6 police officers had been convicted of illegally trading firearms and ammunition in Papua, said director of the Democratic Alliance for Papua (AlDP) Latifah Anum Siregar during the launch of the “Papua Illegal Firearms and Ammunition Trade” report by the AlDP in Jayapura City on Friday, July 1, 2022.

The AIDP’s report is the result of an investigation into various cases of illegal firearms and ammunition trade between 2011 to 2021. The report says that 51 people have been convicted of trafficking firearms and ammunition in Papua, comprising 14 soldiers, six police officers, four members of the West Papua National Liberation Army or TPNPB, three activists of the West Papua National Committee or KNPB, and the remaining are 24 civilians.

“These numbers are based on the court’s verdicts. There are other perpetrators who have yet to be identified in court,” said Siregar.

Siregar explained that the firearms being illegally traded were obtained from cross-border trade such as in the Philippines or Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, within the country, Ambon and Poso were mentioned as the origin of weapons following the conflict that once occurred in the two regions.

She further said police who trade illegal firearms and ammunition in Papua used their institutions to protect themselves. “In the case of Muhammad Jabir Hayan, when the weapon was taken at the airport, he was already being chased by the police. He then hide at the police station but the police continued to follow him so he left his weapons with the local mobile brigade unit. He also uses special access in the airport, and can even store weapons there,” said Siregar.

Siregar added that in the court’s verdict of a convict soldier, the judge found the soldier guilty because he sold weapons and bullets to armed groups deemed to be the enemy of the state. “The perpetrators turned a blind eye because they went for the money. It’s not a matter of nationality but pure business,” she said.

According to Siregar, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police need to evaluate the supervision of airports in Papua, as well as evaluate the production and distribution of firearms and ammunition, including the mechanisms of carrying, storing, and using weapons in each of their units. (*)

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