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Jakarta Post

Mahfud warns of political propaganda ahead of OPM anniversary

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 6, 2019   /   11:09 am
Mahfud warns of political propaganda ahead of OPM anniversary Coordinating Political, Legal Affairs and Security Minister Mahfud MD (third left) gestures during the Indonesia Onward Cabinet's announcement made by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Oct. 23. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD has called on the public to beware of political propaganda aimed at inciting riots during commemorations of Free Papua Movement (OPM) anniversary on Dec. 1. 

The minister said that Papuans needed to be “politically cautious” about efforts to shape “public opinions” regarding the restive region that do not reflect the real situation. 

“We have anticipated all of this,” he said as quoted by Antara on Tuesday.

The authorities had prepared a strategy to face the possibility of a security disruption during the OPM’s anniversary, Mahfud said. The government, he added, would ensure that its security approach would not harm the public.

“We have SOP [standard operating procedures]. It there is a violation of the SOP, we will take action against it, including the ones committed by security personnel.”

Papua and West Papua were recently gripped by civil unrest triggered by a racially charged incident in Surabaya, East Java, in August and another involving a teacher in Wamena, Papua, in September.

After a series of violent rallies and riots that left more than 30 people dead, the government claimed to have controlled the situation in the two provinces.

Some Papuans claim Dec. 1 to be the birth of the West Papua nation in 1961. Last year, the police arrested more than 500 Papuans in several cities for joining rallies to mark the event and to demand a referendum for Papuan independence. (ahw)