JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned Britain’s Ambassador to Jakarta days after West Papuan separatist leader and British citizen Benny Wenda declared a provisional ’government in waiting’ for West Papua earlier this week
“The Ministry conveyed Indonesia’s strong protests towards British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins for allowing Benny Wenda to carry out disinformation, slander and incitement [to violence from the United Kingdom],” said Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah on Saturday, December 5.
“Aside from these acts, Benny Wenda also masterminded a number of criminal acts, including murder, in [West] Papua.”
Faizasyah added that the protest was not lost on the British envoy. “Ambassador Jenkins promised to convey the protest to the British government. He also affirmed Britain’s stance on respecting the territorial integrity of the Unitary State of Indonesia.”
Aside from declaring a government in waiting from his United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Benny drew up a constitution for the territory, and proclaimed himself as its president.
His declaration “rejected Indonesian laws and policies… and vowed to fight ‘Indonesian colonization’ of West Papua since 1963”.
Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD reacted strongly to Benny’s declaration by ordering the Indonesian National Police to capture him. However, the police balked at the request because of his British nationality.
Benny received asylum in Great Britain in 2003 when he fled there via Papua New Guinea the previous year. He escaped Indonesian custody after Indonesian authorities captured him for plotting a series of attacks on police and military installations in 2001.
The 46-year-old has been the leading spokesman for the ULMWP since 2004, and has forged international networks during his time in Britain.
These included his standing as a founding member of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in 2008. The city of Oxford also awarded Benny the 2019 Freedom of Oxford award.
(Writer: Dian Erika Nugraheny | Editor : Jessi Carina)