Armed Separatist Group in Papua took hostages of 16 teachers and medical personnel serving in Mapenduma District, Nduga Regency on Saturday, October 2, 2018. The hostages were threatened with violence and sexual harassment. This event happened because the group suspected them of being undercover Indonesian military members.
Papua Regional Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said that the separatist group had been detaining and barring the teachers and medics from activities.
“It was true that there was a hostage taking place by the Armed Criminal Group against teachers and medical personnel in Mapenduma, Nduga a few days ago. On October 18, 2018, they were released. Now they have arrived in Wamena,” Kamal stated.
From the statement of one of YPGRI (Yayasan Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia or Republic of Indonesia Teachers’ Association Foundation) 1 Mapenduma Elementary School teachers with the initials MN, he together with 15 teachers and health workers in Mapenduma District was threatened and restrained not to carry out work activities by armed groups led by Egianus Kogoya. Kogoya claimed to be the younger brother of Kelly Kwalik, a leader of the Free Papua Organization (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or OPM).
“The Armed Criminal Group has restrained the teachers and health workers from 3 October to 17 October 2018,” Kamal explained.
During the hostage, the teachers and health workers stayed in Mapenduma Health District. The Head of the Mapenduma District Health Center, Naftali Wandikbo, finally succeeded in negotiation. The workers then released on October 18, 2018. “On Thursday, October 18, 2018, a chartered plane come to pick up and bring the teachers and health workers to Wamena,” Kamal said. “One victim of physical assault and sexual harassment was flown to Jayapura to be treated at Bhayangkara Jayapura Hospital. One other victim was treated at the Wamena Regional General Hospital.”
From the statement of the Secretary of the Nduga District Education Office Fredik Samuel Bapundu, the threats and rejection towards the teachers and health workers were because the OPM was suspecting them as security forces in disguise.
“[The group] suspected that these workers are security forces disguising and seeking information,” he said.
Currently, the teachers and health staffs were in Wamena; gathered with their families. Kamal asked all parties to continue to raise awareness to anticipate the emergence of security disturbances.
“We regret the actions taken by Armed Criminal Group. Health and Education are the basic needs that must be met by every citizen for the creation of the young generation as the nation’s leaders and the development of an area,” Kamal said.
OPM spokesman Sebby Sambon when confirmed on Sunday, October 21, 2018, related to the matter has not provided official information.
Priatmojo, Dedy, and Banjir Ambarita. (October 21, 2018). Kelompok Bersenjata Curiga Tenaga Medis di Papua Aparat Menyamar. Retrieved from VIVA.co.id: https://m.viva .co.id/amp/berita/nasional/1086542-kelompok-bersenjata-curiga-tenaga-medis-di-papua-aparat-menyamar, 2018.
Siagian, Wilpret. (October 22,2018). KKB Sandera 16 Guru dan Tenaga Medis di Mapenduma Papua. Retrieved from detikNews: https://news.detik .com/berita/d-4266910/kkb-sandera-16-guru-dan-tenaga-medis-di-mapenduma-papua, 2018.