It’s not just West Papua‘s 2 million Christians who are vulnerable but all in our region. If these jihadist have Indonesian government and military approval then this should be a red line for Australia and the region. It’s an abrogation of the Lombok Treaty and Indonesia’s founding principles of Pancasila.
The creep of Islamic militia into West Papua began at least 18 years ago when Laskar Jihad first sent members into Sorong and Jayapura. In 2001 I interviewed the Commander of Laskar Jihad, Jafar Umar Thalib, in Ambon during the war. He told me directly he was sending jihadis to train in West Papua. After the liberation of Timor Leste, General Wiranto and the TNI moved much of their security apparatus from Timor to Papua.
For years I’ve heard from OPM sources of jihadi camps around Merauke in the southeast corner, close to the borders of PNG and Australia, but they could never get photo evidence. Now phone cameras are capturing all as would-be jihadis demonstrate in Java and arrive on ships in Papua.
The plight of the West Papuans can no longer be ignored.
No-one wants an un-holy war here, one that would spread…