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Jakarta Post

Calling Papuan armed groups terrorists won't solve unrest: Watchdogs

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Wed, March 31, 2021   /  03:43 pm
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Police and military personnel attend a joint antiterror exercise held by the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police at the East Java Police’s Mobile Brigade headquarters in Malang, East Java, on May 18, 2020.(Antara/Ari Bowo Sucipto)

Last week, Indonesia’s handling of insurgencies in Papua took a new turn, eliciting a strong response from rights watchdogs and experts. The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), a state institution that had previously taken mostly precautionary and rehabilitative approaches to countering violent extremism, pitched the idea of designating armed criminal groups (KKB) linked with Papuan separatists as terrorists. BNPT chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar told lawmakers at a hearing that these groups had been using violence to spark conflict and instill fear among civilians, suggesting that such activities could be regarded as acts of terror. BNPT was “proposing discussions” with relevant ministries and state agencies to ascertain whether it was possible to designate these groups as terrorist organizations, he said. For the most part, lawmakers agree with the age...