Search This Blog

Total Pageviews



Blog Archive

Indonesian police arrest Buchtar Tabuni and two Papuan ‘ministers’

 Source: Asia Pacific Report

A United Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) leader, Buchtar Tabuni, about to be arrested by
Indonesian police outside his home in Jayapura earlier this week. Image: Jubi/ULMWP

Indonesian police have arrested Buchtar Tabuni, one of West Papua’s most important liberation leaders, along with three other United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) ministers, reports the movement in a statement.

“Indonesia are once again suppressing freedom of expression and assembly in West Papua, in an attempt to crush our spirit and commitment to our struggle,” said interim president Benny Wenda.

Buchtar Tabuni is chair of the West Papua Council, and a member of the ULMWP Council Committee. His arrest was confirmed by police.

Other West Papua human rights issues

He was arrested with Bazoka Logo, Minister of Political Affairs, and Iche Murib, Minister of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, said the statement.

The trio were arrested at Tabuni’s house in Jayapura, following an annual ULMWP meeting, and interrogated at a nearby police station.

“What is their crime? What possible justification can there be for this crackdown? This was after a peaceful meeting at a private residence,” the statement said.

“The right to assembly is a basic human right, enshrined in the constitutions of countries around the world, including Indonesia.”

Buchtar Tabuni . . . arrested outside his Jayapura home after a peaceful meeting. Image: ULMWP

Sharing information

The National Parliament of the ULMWP meets annually to share information on events in their regions and discuss the situation of the struggle.

“West Papuans have the right, under international law, to peacefully mobilise for our independence,” Wenda said.

He called on anybody concerned by the arrests to to express their disgust to the Jayapura police chief.

Wenda said the arrests were in breach of basic principles of international diplomacy and human rights.

Both the ULMWP and Indonesia are members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, a regional political forum.

“We sit around the table together as equals. Imagine if British police arrested a Scottish parliamentarian following a peaceful meeting in their own home — there would be international outcry.

“This is the brutal reality of Indonesia’s colonial occupation.”

Tabuni targeted

Buchtar Tabuni . . . arrested outside his Jayapura home after a peaceful meeting. Image: ULMWP

The statement said this was not the first time Tabuni had been targeted by the Indonesian state.

Tabuni has spent much of his life behind bars, and was previously arrested and charged with treason for his involvement in anti-racism protests in 2020.

“This is political persecution: the harshness of Buchtar’s treatment is due only to his position as a respected leader of the independence struggle,” said Wenda.

“History tells us that there is no such thing as a fair trial for West Papuans in Indonesia. Victor Yeimo is still gravely ill in prison, where he has been held on spurious treason charges since May 2021.

“We urgently need the assistance of all international solidarity groups and NGOs — you must pressure your governments to help secure Mr Tabuni’s release, and all other West Papuan political prisoners.

Wenda said that the ULMWP demanded that Indonesia immediately release him with Bazoka Logo and Iche Murib.

Freedom ‘essential’

“Their freedom is essential in order to keep the peace,” he said.

According to Tabloid Jubi, Jayapura City police chief Senior Commander Victor D. Mackbon had confirmed that his office had arrested Buchtar Tabuni.

He said Tabuni was arrested to “clarify the activities” held at his home.

“Buchtar Tabuni’s arrival is to clarify his community gathering activities,” said Commander Mackbon.

Brief History of How & Where the Name Kagamuga Came About

Kagamuga means " lady with big bum" in Oksapmin dialect, Teliformin District, West Sepik Province. Kaga " lady" Muga " big bum".

Geographically, Teliformin  District is located on the Sepik Central Range along the Bismark Peninsula that stretches through the Highlands Region and covers some parts of Momase Region. It shares border with Indonesia on the eastern end and with our provincial borders Western Province, ESP, Enga, Hela & SHP. 

There is no such word as " Kagamuga" in Melpa Dialect that you could find in WHP. During the colonial era, White Administrators (Kiaps) brought in casual labourers from different parts of PNG to work on the Kagamuga Airport project including Teliformin people to work alongside with Western Highlanders & Jiwakas. Kiaps would assign people with different tasks. Teliformin women were assigned to carry out the task of rollers for compacting and stabilizing the soil/ground given their physique body built. They would join hands in straight line, chanting and singing their favourite traditional songs whilst jumping to and fro compacting the soil/ground with their bear feet. It was all purely done by manpower using physical strength. No machineries involved at that time.

Kiaps could/would see their breast swung to and fro including their bums. Kiaps felt appropriate that the airport should be named after them as Kagamuga as a token of appreciation for their tireless commitment to the development of the airport. That's how name Kagamuga came about in Oksapmin dialect meaning " lady with big bum".

Thanks to all the people of Telifomin for your significant contribution to the development of Kagamuga Airport that is today enjoyed by many people.

Some even further worked on the plantations at Kindeng and Kudjip with then Warren Plantations & Estates, now WR Carpenters- the producer of National No: 1 tea. Special one to all the "Kagamugas" out there. You're not forgotten by us. We still keep your name alive!