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Indigenous Peoples of Papua

Government Has No Authority on Customary Villages



Jayapura Regent Matius Awoitau - Jubi

Jayapura Regent Matius Awoitau – Jubi

Sentani, Jubi – The local government cannot interfere in the affairs of established customary villages in Jayapura Regency, Papua, Jayapura Regent Matius Awoitau said.

“Customary villages are no longer the authority of the regional government, from the administrative system till the appointment of village chief by ondoafi (customary leaders),” said Awoitau told Jubi in Sentani on Thursday (23/6/2016).

Along with customary villages, there are some rules set up that the customary people should follow.

According to him, many villages are currently recognized as customary villages to coincide with the ending period served of the former government’s village chiefs. With this recognition, the village chief is no longer served. The decision is fully taken by the customary people in the village.

“Thus the authorities are in the hands of customary leaders and their people,” he said. He hoped with the expiration of the term of the government’s village chief, those villages would obtain new status. “It is the opportunity for the customary people after long time being forgotten. It’s time to stand up and see into the future of the people in the villages. The local government will give supports through empowerment development fund program and regular training so that people could experience the real prosperity,” he said.

Ondoafi of Demutru tribe from Iwon Village of Gresi Selatan Sub-District, Kostan Trapen said all this time he considered the customary village was raising a dualism of leadership in the village. “But it was wrong. After getting the information and socialization from the government about the customary village, as part of ondofolo (customary administrative), I am very grateful that the government has handed over the authority over the administrative system to each village,” Trapen said. (Engelbert Wally/rom)

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Indonesian military to complete Trans-Papua Highway



Indonesian soldiers participate in a major military jungle warfare exercise in Poso, in central Sulawesi island, on March 31, 2015. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Officials working on a troubled road project in Papua say Indonesia’s military will complete the job this year.

In December, at least 16 Indonesians working on the Trans-Papua Highway in Nduga province were massacred by fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army.

The project was put on hold with the military saying it would take over work on the 4000 kilometre highway.

Combat engineers will reportedly carry out the construction, with hundreds of extra security personnel deployed to the area.

Detik News reports a military battalion has been assigned to the building of the project’s remaining 16 bridges.

Indonesian army engineers had already been working on the Trans-Papua Highway project for a number of years.

Military involvement in the project was cited by the Liberation Army as a central reason for killing the road workers, who were suspected of being soldiers. (*)



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Indonesian soldier dead after attack at Papua airport



Members of the Indonesian Army in Papua. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Indonesia’s military has evacuated the body of a soldier killed at an airport in Papua’s Highlands on Monday.

Xinhua reported that gunmen shot at an arriving aircraft carrying soldiers at Mapenduma airport of Nduga district, leaving one soldier dead.

Military spokesman Colonel Muhammad Aidi said when the plane was about to land, it was shot at, and soldiers who were guarding the airport shot back, triggering gunfire exchange.

He said the gunmen retreated and escaped to the forest and the plane landed.

Tempo reported that two soldiers were shot, and hospitalised, with one dying later.

The soldier’s body has been evacuated to Papua’s provincial capital Jayapura,

He is the latest apparent victim in the Highlands conflict between guerilla forces of the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesian security forces that intensified last year. (*)



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A sad story of education from Papuan outreached and border areas



Pupils at schools in outreached Papua. – Jubi/Dok

Jayapura, Jubi – Education, in Papua today is still a sad story since many schools in outreached or border areas have to struggle to continue their activities even without adequate support from the government.

An educational activist Agustinus Kadepa said the education in Papua, especially in the border and outreached areas, is a complex issue, from the lack of teachers’ attendance to lack of teaching facilities that hampers the learning activities at school.

“This is complicated. Furthermore, we know that a good and qualified educational education could exist when it gains support from many aspects, namely the economy, educational facilities, public awareness of education and so on. Therefore, I think these factors have made many teachers prefer to live in town rather than in those remote areas,” said Kadepa on Thursday (24/1/2019).

Another factor is when teachers apply for the position of civil servants. It has an indirect impact on the number of teachers staying at schools, especially in remote areas. Because most of those teachers would accept the new position as a civil servant and choose to live in town rather than continue teaching in remote areas.

Meanwhile, this problem also considered by the village chief of Kampung Moso, Muara Tami Sub-district of Jayapura Municipality, Agus Watapoa. He said that all the time the primary schools of the Indonesian and PNG border have not a sufficient number of teachers. Therefore, the children are neglected and cannot study at school.

“Teachers who teach in this school village come late to school, at 10 in the morning. So this school is not well running. It’s still open but just not running very well because we only have two classes with a roof,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Agus Pabika

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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