Soldiers of RI-PNG Border Security Task Force receive awards for rescue of civilians and voluntary submission of improvised weapons

The Commander of the 172/PWY Territorial Military Command General J.O Sembiring represented by the Head of the Operations Section Colonel Yuswanto has presented awards to the RI-PNG Border Security Task Force soldiers of the 172/PWY Operations Command.

The award was presented symbolically at the 126/KC Infantry Battalion Task Force Post at Banda Village, Waris District, Keerom Regency, Papua, witnessed by the Village Head and community leaders of Banda Village on Tuesday (11/10/2022).

Awards were given to the 711/RKS Infantry Battalion of Wambes Post for the successful rescue of two Papuan children who were swept away by the Wambes Village River and the 126/KC Infantry Battalion of Waris Post who received voluntary submission of five improvised weapons from the Sanggaria Village community.

The Head of the Operations Section took the opportunity to convey that the award is a form of appreciation from the 172/PWY Operations Commander for the hard work of the soldiers in accomplishing their tasks as well as possible.

“We are proud of you all, even though you are at the end of your duty in Papua, you still work with high dedication to your country and nation, especially in helping in the hardship of the community in the region where you serve, and for that you deserve this award,” he said.

At the conclusion of this duty, he continued, soldiers must continue to contribute positively to the local community. “Nobody does things that may injure the Army’s dignity, especially wounding the hearts of the Papuan community. Leave a positive impression so that they will be reluctant to see you go. That is an indicator that your assignment in Papua was a success,” he said.

The Head of the Banda Village, Joni Mai (60), stated that the 126/KC Infantry Battalion Task Force has so far conducted their duties very well.

“To us the community of the Banda Village, we view that the 126/KC Task Force have done their best for the people, cooperation and communication with the community has been well-maintained, and even on behalf of the community, I apologize that we are unable to give anything as a token of appreciation to the members of the 126/KC Task Force members especially the Waris Post. We can only pray that they are able to return to their unit safe and whole,” he added.

“I hope that the new Task Force will be able to work with the community, because the Army and Police are the bastions of the country so the relationship and communications with the community may continue,” Joni Mai said.

In addition to presenting the awards, the Head of Operations also conducted a check and inspection of the RI-PNG Border Security Task Force 172/PWY.

In the meantime, the Operations Commander of the 172/PWY Territorial Military Command Brigadier General J.O Sembiring at a separate opportunity hoped that through this award the spirit and motivation of the soldiers in performing their duties can be enhanced.

“As I have conveyed before we will give awards for every achievement of the troops, no matter how small must be appreciated so that the other soldiers will be pumped up and motivated to continue doing their best especially the concern in helping the community.

Adapted from:

Government Taking Two Approaches in the Development of Papua


It has been three years since the government of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin initiated the two models of approach in the endeavor to develop Papua. The first approach is infrastructure, and the second is the human resources approach.

Both approaches are expected to be the foundation for the region’s continued development.

This was asserted by the Deputy V for Security and Human Rights of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP), Jaleswari Pramodhawardani in Jakarta, Friday (21/10/2022).

Jaleswari hoped that the regional governments in Papua can follow up on the foundation that has been laid by continuing to engage and build a pattern of two-way communication with people all over Papua.

“In addition, the most important thing is how to prioritize public services and fulfilling the rights of the community,” she said.

At every opportunity, President Joko Widodo has always asserted that the current national development is not Java or Sumatra-centric, but must be “Indonesia-centric”. That is why since the start of his government, the Head of State is committed to develop in an “Indonesia-centric” manner starting with the Papua region.

“The President has visited Papua 15 times. This is important because the Head of State must see all the data and the facts,” said Jaleswari.

The infrastructure approach starts with the most basic, from education to health services. That is why, stated Jaleswari, since the start of President Jokowi’s first term in office to the second, with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, the commitment to bring social justice to all Indonesians, including in Papua and West Papua, has been maintained.

“This commitment is no mere rhetoric, as he has delivered it in the form of the Presidential Instruction to accelerate welfare development in Papua and West Papua, so it is not merely a commitment to visit there 15 times, but through the issuance of supporting regulations,” Jaleswari stated.

The regulations are contained within the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN), which is not exclusive to Papua as it is a National Priority Program (PSN).

“Among the regulations is Presidential Instruction No. 9/2020 which began as Presidential Instruction No. 9/2017. With Presidential Instruction No. 9/2020, 43 ministries and agencies are now required to participate in accelerating the development of welfare in Papua and West Papua.”  

The Importance of Papuan Human Resource Development

The government’s commitment to the development of Papua is not limited to ensuring the availability of infrastructure, but also to ensure that human resources are enhanced.

“The President always said, that we should not only take a security approach but take the welfare approach. How an affirmative action policy can fulfill the rights of native Papuans which so far has not been optimal, including a cultural approach,” Jaleswari explained.   

According to Jaleswari, that is why the government ensures that if human resource development were to be met, not only educational, health, and others, but also sustainable assistance, aside from budget allocations that must be accurately targeted.

“We all know how decisions from organizing the National Sports Week (PON) in Papua to the single-price fuel policy can be successfully implemented there, proving that if commitments made in President Joko Widodo’s administration are executed thoroughly, it is possible that national development can be achieved,” she said.

On the same occasion, the Deputy for Government Policy Support and national Vision of the Indonesian Vice-Presidential Secretariat, Velix Wanggai asserted that the government has laid the foundation for development in Papua, even for the next 20 years.

“President Jokowi and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin have laid the foundation for Papua in the future. This means that in the last 8 years and that foundation is important for us Papuans. The policy will then be referred to as the Papuan development acceleration masterplan 2022-2041,” he said.

The special feature of the regulation, he said, will be the reference in the formulation of the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) and the Regional Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMD). There are targets that must be met by related stakeholders.

‘A masterplan that is a guide for everyone. Whether in ministries, agencies, provincial governments, regencies, and cities,” Velix said.

He continued that the government policy which increased the special autonomy budget by 2,25 percent of the national general budget allocation limit will bring many positive changes in Papua.

The budget inflow, he said, will be a strong reason for strengthening communications between the central government and the entire regional government in Papua, in order to push for accelerated development in various areas.

“It will be part of easing the synchronization through the budget, as well as the coordination between the centre and regional governments,” Velix said.

From the Regional Autonomy policy (OTDA), the government proves that public services have become closer to the community. The simplification will impact Papua’s economic growth.

“The public services for the entire community can be fulfilled by the government,” Velix added.

On the cultural side, he stated that the government has used approaches based on local wisdom and customs. “Having the local wisdom context which then sees and differentiates basic issues found in Papua,” said Velix.


The Time Capsule Monument, Landmark of Merauke

If anything can be considered the landmark in the city of Merauke, the Time Capsule Monument is certainly at the top of the list. The monument, which began construction in 2016 and established in 2018 has since become a popular tourist attraction in the centre of the city, drawing visitors from all over the country. The structure was the brainchild of the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo during the 70th Anniversary of Independence in 2015.   

A special expedition across Indonesia was then initiated to gather messages for the capsule, conveying the hopes and dreams of the younger generation for the country’s future. The expedition began in the west, crossing 34 provinces over the distance of roughly 25.000 kilometres to reach its destination in Merauke, the easternmost point of Indonesia. The messages contained are diverse, but generally convey feelings of optimism for the country’s future. The seven wishes contained within the capsule include for Indonesia to be the centre for education and technology, to uphold ethics, being free from corruption, and becoming an influential country in the Asia Pacific.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the monument, and one frequently remarked upon by those familiar with it is its shape when seen from above. From the sky, the monument resembles a large letter A, noted to be similar to the logo of the Avengers, superhero characters from the blockbuster films by Marvel studios. The President himself has commented on the resemblance on occasion. The location of the monument so close to the airport also means that passengers approaching the city will have a clear view from the air to see for themselves.

The architecture was apparently designed to be rich in symbolism. The monument is 17 metres wide, 8 metres in height, and 45 metres in length. These numbers are instantly recognisable to Indonesians, as they represent the date of Indonesia’s independence on 17 August 1945. The symbolism also extends to incorporating Papuan culture into the design. The five gates leading to the monument’s centre represent the five tribes of Merauke, the Malind, Muyu, Mandobo, Mappi dan Auyu.

The day we visited the site, the area was quiet. A few people can be seen around the boundaries. A few children were running and others sitting on the grass. Others are seen walking around the edges. The large open field around the monument is frequently used for large open-air events such as concerts.  The site is also located directly across the road from the local government headquarters.

As we walk around the monument, we see stairs leading upwards to the time capsule. After going up a flight of 100 or so steps, the bluish-green sphere of the time capsule comes into view. We pose for photos in front, as many do when visiting this landmark. At the top, a scenic view of the surrounding area unfolds.

The time capsule will be opened in 2085, 70 years after its inception. The opening will undoubtedly be a festive event with much fanfare and celebration. More importantly, it will reveal once and for all whether the best wishes of the young generation for the country’s bright future have come to pass.

Merauke’s Yamai Atib, Wildlife Sanctuary in the City Centre

Papua is known for its natural beauty and variety of its wildlife. Merauke, the easternmost city in Indonesia, is no exception, with various endemic species inhabiting the wilds surrounding the city. For those who wish to see the wildlife without venturing into the forests, wetlands, and other habitats outside of the city, the Yamai Atib Wildlife Park would be a good place to visit.

The small park, located in the centre of the city, was established in 2017 by Frederikus Gebze, the former District Head of Meruke. The name Yamai Atib comes from the language of the Marind tribe, and translates to “gathering place of animals”. It is home to a large variety of animals including deer, wallabies, crocodiles, and a large variety of birds including eagles, cassowaries, and many others. This makes it the closest thing to a zoo in the city centre.

Approaching the park, we immediately see a colourful gate, flanked by pillars topped with faux stag heads. To the left is a row of pendopo, traditional gazebos where people can sit and relax, where a group of people can be seen conversing. To the right is the welcome area leading to the animal enclosures with the Papuan deer, the first animals we see. The park allows visitors to feed the deer, and for a small price, you can buy bunches of spinach to feed them. A couple of kids can be seen with their parents, smiling as they stretch their arms to bring the vegetables to the waiting deer.

Interestingly, the deer is the only animal in the park that is not endemic to Papua and was brought to the region by the Dutch colonial government in the 1920s. They were kept to roam in the parks and gardens before they were released in the wilds outside Merauke, after their numbers increased significantly. The Dutch then allowed for them to be hunted within limits, namely that only the older animals are hunted during a specific period in late December every year. Over the years, venison has become a local delicacy, commonly grilled with skewers or made into jerky. Unfortunately, the excessive hunting has led to large scale migration of the animals to neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

An unexpected member of the menagerie is the wallaby, which is surprisingly an endemic species in Papua. Many would assume that the animal, resembling a smaller kangaroo, is only found in Australia, but they have lived in Papua for a very long time due to the landmasses of Papua and Australia being connected in the past. Much like the deer, the wallaby is under threat from hunting and illegal trading.

As we walk around the enclosure, more animals come into view. Small cages with a variety of colourful birds are seen immediately after. At the further end, we see the large cassowaries and majestic eagles perched on branches. At the end is a cage with small crocodiles, unmoving at the bottom. At the end, we come to a small area with tables and chairs. We are told that this area is frequently used for gatherings by the locals, where they can eat, drink, and sing songs into the night. A small group of people have already gathered, watching the TV screen as it shows a wildlife program.

The park is not large, but contains quite a lot of different animals. After circling the enclosures and taking a few snapshots, we head for the exit. 

A park like Yamai Atib is a valuable one because it allows for conservation of animals, particularly those threatened by hunting such as deer and wallabies. Additionally, it is also a means of educating the public about the wealth of wildlife variety found in Papua, and is well worth a visit.