Burning MAF Plane Carrying Missionaries, Papuan Separatist Groups Must Immediately Be Tried

by Achmad Faisal (a former journalist observing Papua)

(The MAF plane burned by the OPM separatist group, Doc. Public Relations of the Papua Police; source:news.detik..com)

It is time for law enforcement to act decisively against this separatist group. It doesn’t matter if this group is affiliated with a certain group in the Papuan separatist movement.

The burning incident of the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) aircraft at Kampung Pagamba Airport, Mbiandoga District, Intan Jaya Regency, Papua, on Thursday (7/1), should be severely condemned. How could it not be, the plane carrying pastors or missionaries, as a means of transportation to serve from one village to another, was brutally burned.

The burning action of the plane piloted by Alex Luferchek, an American citizen, sparked public anger. The perpetrators who later turned out to be an armed separatist criminal group (KKSB / TPNPB-OPM) in Intan Jaya led by Undius Kogoya, damaged and burned planes for no apparent reason.

The Papua Police Chief, Inspector General Paulus Waterpauwsaid, based on the examination of the pilot Alex Luferchek, it was found that the plane was a regular flight and was not chartered. The flight is a service that helps pastors from one village to another.

In his statement, Luferchek said that when he was on the plane, suddenly about 10 people came out of the bush holding firearms. They hold the pilot. Then the goods on the plane were dropped off by KKSB. They then damaged and burned the plane.

Before the arson was carried out, the priest around the airport tried to prevent it. The pastor and the residents stated that the plane was a means for the pastors from one village to another to preach the gospel. The pastor reminded KKSB not to damage the aircraft. However, their request was ignored by KKSB. The group continued to destroy and burn the plane.

The Papua Police Chief was furious at the KKSB’s actions because it was beyond human reason. He strongly condemns the actions of the perpetrators who exceed the devil. Moreover, in February there will be a celebration of the Gospel entering the Land of Papua. While the perpetrators took pictures with jumawa holding weapons in front of the burned wreckage.

Paulus ensured that the police were still pursuing the perpetrator. He will also hold a meeting with the Army to build a force.

Meanwhile, the OPM Separatist Group admitted that the arson was carried out by the armed group of the West Papua national liberation army, TPNPB. This group is the military wing of the OPM. OPM argued that the plane with PK-MAX number was burned because the plane was a spy and often carried security personnel from the National Army and the Police.

The OPM spokesperson, Sebby Sambon, said it was absurd that missionaries were agents of foreign capitalists. This missionary is accused of coming as a spy to destroy the natural power of indigenous Papuans so that Indonesia and America steal Papua’s natural wealth.

An argument that is very absurd and far-fetched. Especially based on the information of the priests around the location, that the pastors had reminded them that the plane was helping God’s servants in serving worship from one area to another. It is nonsense if the OPM has such an opinion.

It is time for law enforcement to act decisively against this separatist group. It doesn’t matter if this group is affiliated with a certain group in the Papuan separatist movement.

Separatists have clearly undermined security stability in Papua and trampled on Indonesian sovereignty with unclear independence alibis. The series of KKB’s cruel actions against the law must be responded to with legal remedies. If necessary, separatist leaders who have taken shelter abroad are deported to undergo trials in Indonesia. ()

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