A guerilla force waging war for independence in West Papua has revealed it’s been buying weapons from Indonesia’s military.
The West Papua Liberation Army has been embroiled in intensified conflict with Indonesian security forces in the highlands interior of Papua region since 2018.
A highlands regional commander of the Liberation Army, Brigadier General Egianus Kogeya, has revealed that he purchased weapons and ammunition from the Indonesian military and police.
Kogeya’s fighters have claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks in the past two years, including the massacre of at least nineteen Indonesian road construction workers in Nduga in December 2018.
According to Suara Papua, Papua Police Chief, Paulus Waterpauw, said the circulation of firearms and ammunition remained a serious concern for the security forces, especially in the Papua Regional Police.
The military or TNI has also recognised the pattern. In February, a military court in Jayapura jailed three TNI members for hvaing supplied ammunition to armed criminal groups in Papua. One of those convicted was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Kogeya said he bought ammunition and weapons from the TNI and Police because that was their way of accessing food while posted in Papua.
He explained that usually the security forces connect with the Liberation Army for the arms sales by communicating through subordinates in the field.
After approval by their superiors, the transaction proceeds, Kogeya said.