As much as 347 residents in the villages of Binti and Kimbley, Tembagapura, Mimika, West Papua had been hold hostages by a group of separatist namely Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM or Free Papua Organization) since Friday, November 10, 2017. The group had limited these hostages from going out of the village border and also limited their supply.
Hostages were finally able to be released through rescue operations carried out by joint forces of Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI or the Indonesian National Armed Force) and Kepolisian Republik Indonesia (POLRI or the Indonesian National Police) on Friday, November 17, 2017. In an operation that lasted 1 hour 18 minutes, the location controlled by the OPM was finally able to be conquered without anyone injured.
The Head of Information for the Cendrawasih Regional Command, Colonel Muhammad Aidi, stated that military members who participated in the operation were a combination of Group I, Group II, Group III, Unit 81/Counterterrorism of the Indonesian Army Special Forces Command, Infantry Battalion-751/Raider, and Combat Reconnaissance Platoon of Indonesian Army Strategic Command.
Aidi explained that in operation, the Special Forces Command was assigned to storm the hostage-takers who occupied Kimbley Village; while other troops raided Binti Village. Since early morning, Special Forces have succeeded in approaching each location without being identified by the hostage-takers.
“At the coordinated time, which is at 7:00 AM H-hour (Eastern Indonesia Time; GMT +9), special forces begin to move towards the position of the Armed Criminal Group that gathered around,” said Aidi. At 7:45 AM, Special Forces detonated a bomb as a sign of the start of the operation.
Members of the Army Special Forces assigned to release hostages in Kimbley Village immediately approached the pig pen where the OPM members gathered. “Knowing that troops suddenly emerged from outside the residential area, the Armed Criminal Group fled without resistance,” Aidi said. At 8:18 AM, Special Forces took control of all areas that were previously controlled by criminal groups.
All members of the OPM, who had held hostages for a week, then fled towards the forest and opened fire from a distance. At that time the special forces did not pursue them through the forest due to adverse weather conditions.
After the team reported the successful operation to the Commander of the Cendrawasih Military Regional Command, Maj. Gen. George Elnadus Supit and Papua Regional Police Chief Inspector General of Police Boy Rafli Amar, both with the Military Integrated Task Force Team, arrived at the location to carry out the evacuation. At 14:00 Eastern Indonesia Time, the evacuation process was successfully carried out releasing 347 hostages consist of Papuans and outside Papua.
In the hostage release operation, the Special Forces Command’s actions became a conversation on the internet. With limited logistics, special forces moved for five days and five nights to approach the hostage location. When the operation was underway, the Commander of the Special Forces Command Team even distributed supplies to hungry matrons although the supplies they brought were not much.
The moment was shared by the twitter account @kodam3siliwangi, “We met starved ladies. Even though [we] have moved for five days and five nights, the Commander of the Special Forces Command Team (which has the task to free hostages) distributed his logistics even though it is limited. Command!”
The special forces’ actions immediately spread on social media and provoked the feelings of many netizens:
@realAbikaTrader, “Allah will reward you 1000 times, sir. I have [done charity] and immediately received a reply from him 1000 times [even though I] did not expect that reply.“
@nomadensky, “By Allah, we are proud to have @Puspen_TNI, stay like this. Hopefully, General Gatot and the successor to the rank of Commander will always protect the people and the state of Indonesia. This is the truth of the TNI #SayaPancasila, not the one that has been reported by the other side. The fact is the opposite.“
@fifi_zhafira, “Salute! God always blesses good people.“
@fahrihuseinsyah, “O God, [I] was moved. COMMAND!“
Restudia. (2017, November 18). Makanan Terbatas, Tapi Aksi Kopassus Saat Bebaskan Sandera Bikin Haru. Retrieved from TribunJambi.com: http://jambi.tribunnews .com/2018/10/06/dalam-keterbatasan-logistik-penyergapan-kopassus-untuk-bebaskan-sandera-di-papua-bikin-haru