The head of a Christian organization in Indonesia blasted the brutal killing of a gold miner in the country’s Papua region. Accordingly, the leader urged the government to shut down the operation of mining ventures that exploit natural resources.
Exploitation Breeds Violence
Fr. Bernard Baru, the head of the Augustinian Order of the Justice and Peace Commission in Papua, Indonesia, explained that the area is host to different interests that trigger violence.
Father Baru told UCA News: “Military is here mainly to help develop the investment. In terms of natural resources exploitation, I would say security officers also play their part. They back illegal mining and logging. And this drives Papuan resistance groups to fight back.”
The Augustinian prelate explained that such a power struggle ultimately affects civilians in the middle of the conflict.
Father Baru issued his statement on Nov. 8, three days after the Nov. 5 murder of a gold miner.
The news outlet disclosed that members of KKB, an armed criminal organization, gunned down the victim, who was allegedly mining without the necessary permits. The suspects also set a mining camp on fire in one of the region’s remote villages.
Ahmad Mustafa Kamal, the spokesperson of Papua Police, told reporters on Nov. 7 that KKB leader Bocor Sobolim headed the attack on Pegunungan Bintang’s Kawe village.
Police have named the murder victim as Rolmo Aldus Tuenoa, 29. The report said that Tuenoa died after losing blood when attackers chopped off his arm.
Kamal revealed that responders airlifted Tuenoa’s body and several eyewitnesses for their safety. They were transported to Boven Digoel, a nearby district, for questioning.
According to the West Papua National Army-Free Papua Organization spokesperson, Sebby Sambom, KKB said they launched the recent attack.
Sambom revealed that KKB warned about continuing their killing spree and attacking anyone who would “come to steal the Papuan people’s natural resources.”
The police refused to identify the possible motive behind the latest attack; Father Baru speculated that local villagers must have sought help from armed groups like the KKB to drive away the illegal miners.
“The Church’s stance is very clear. This is greed which receives support from the military strength. There is no other way but to keep voicing about a fair and dignified dialogue through a third party, for example, the United Nations so that the root of conflict can be tackled. We, the Church in Papua, also hope that the Church in Indonesia will also speak up about a fair and dignified dialogue in the Papua region,” Father Baru said.
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‘Not the First Incident’
According to Kamal, the recent attack on the village was not the first time such an incident happened. He bared that KKB had earlier beheaded a miner allegedly operating minus permits in July this year. In February, KKB also allegedly murdered three miners working without permits in the Papua area.
Cahyo Sukarnito, the chief of Pagunungan Bintang Police, said his office had dispatched a team of investigators to track down the perpetrators. Sukarnito disclosed that the attackers were probably hiding in a remote location.
The police chief asked other miners operating in the area to leave immediately for their safety. Sukarnito explained that the over 1,000 gold miners also operate illegally, which makes them a target for similar attacks by the same armed group.
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