TNI says it is using soft power in Papua

Bintang Papua, 8 March 2012

Jayapura: In Papua, the Indonesin army, the TNI, always uses the welfare approach towards the Papuan people, including armed civilians who continue to create disturbances in Puncak Jaya and other places in Papua.

‘For the TNI , the approach must be changed from the armed approach to one that does not resort to violence,’ said Major-General Erwin Safitri, commander of the Cenderawasih military command, during a coffee morning with the Jayapura press on Thursday, 8 March.

He went on to say that this welfare approach would take into consideration the local government’s programmes, for example by getting involved in infrastructural development, healthcare, education and other matters..

‘My principle is to pursue the soft approach. We can see that in the cities, they work together with the community and we know that these relationships are quite strong,’ he said.

When pressed, armed civilian groups or the OPM in Puncak Jaya which still exist enter the cities and are believed to be armed with SSI (?), handmade weapons or weapons that have been seized from the security forces. But Major General Safitri would not give any figure about the strength of their forces.

Meanwhile, the head of the TVRI channel in Papua, Telman Rorimpandey who was approached by media people from all parts o f Jayapura, said that during a meeting between the military commander and the press, they had been able to strengthen their mutual ties and had achieved the same perception, in particular with regard to providing objective information to the public. He went on to say that he very much hoped that the media would be given the necessary access to information from the Cenderawasih military command which could then be made public while firmly upholding the law on the ethical code of the Press.

‘W media people are also in need of information about incidents that need to be made publicly available with the necessary objectivity and without causing mistrust between the two sides,’ he said.

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