December 3, 2020, 09.09 PM
West Papuan separatist Benny Wenda BennyWenda.orgWest Papuan separatist Benny Wenda

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian government condemned West Papuan independence activist Benny Wenda’s move to form a provisional government based on his United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

“[Benny’s declaration] constitutes treason [towards Indonesia]. [People’s Consultative Assembly or MPR head] Bambang Soesatyo also noted that Benny is taking steps to this end,” said Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD on Thursday, December 3.

“Benny’s declaration for a West Papuan government is delusional, as it does not meet the conditions to establish a state, like a permanent population, territory, and government.”

Also read: Indonesian Police Charge Six Suspected West Papuans With Treason

Mahfud also pointed out that Benny “does not represent [the West Papuan] people, his territory is occupied by Indonesia, and he did not get international recognition from other countries except for Vanuatu, or international organizations. ”

Mahfud did not hesitate to lay down the law for Benny’s actions. “I ordered the Indonesian National Police to arrest Benny Wenda for breaching national security. In short, capture him according to national security laws, then try him accordingly.”

But Indonesian National Police spokesman Brigadier General Awi Setiyono is less belligerent. “The Police cannot legally proceed against Benny Wenda because he is a British citizen who resides there.” 

Also read: President Jokowi Yet to Deliver Pledge to Allow Foreign Media to Papua and West Papua

“He received asylum in Great Britain in 2002 when he fled there via Papua New Guinea after we arrested him for plotting to attack military and police installations [in Papua].”

According to BBC, Benny proclaimed himself interim president of West Papua, as well as head of the ULMWP provisional government, as of December 1.

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