ANNEX A to Papuan Shooting Section Of Indonesian Semi Monthly Report (March 28 to April 10, 2020)

Synopsis of Freeport’s Security Management Plan

 

Throughout the mine’s history, PT Freeport’s CoW (Contract of Work) area has seen a regular series of violent incidents. At least six foreigners have been shot and five killed in the last 43 years. The most infamous incident involving foreigners was the 2002 shooting at mile 62 in which two Americans were killed. The military have accused the Papuan separatists of carrying out every attack that has taken place. The police have suggested in at least once incident (2002, at mile 62 where two Americans and one Indonesian were killed) that the military were behind the attack. Human rights workers and political observers and even at times the Indonesian press have accused the security forces of being involved in some of these incidents. However, members of the Papuan separatist groups have also claimed responsibility in a number of the more recent incidents. They claim that they are at war with Indonesia and Freeport’s CoW is the battleground. Their spokesman has stated that, “Any attack on the military, police or Freeport is from us.”

As a result of these incidents, Freeport has had to confront an unstable security situation. It is this need for security that has compelled Freeport to befriend the Indonesian military and police. It needs to be noted that Freeport is considered to be a “Vital National Object” which by law mandates military or police security. Until 2014, this role belonged to the military. Then a presidential order in 2014 tasked the police with the role. However, Freeport and the military signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2019 in which the security role was returned to the military. Up until April 1999, the police were a branch under the military. In 1999, they became their own separate service. Since 1999, there has been competition between the police and the military for control of national resources. Under the current president Joko Widodo’s government, the police have generally been favored over the military.

A report issued in the New York Times in 2007 claims that from 1998 through 2004, Freeport gave military and police generals, colonels, majors and captains, and military units, nearly USD 20 million. Individual commanders received tens of thousands of dollars, in one case up to USD 150,000, according to the documents. These documents were allegedly provided by an individual close to Freeport and confirmed as authentic by current and former employees. A former company official told the Times that in 1998 Chairman of the Freeport board, Mr. Moffett, met with a group of senior Indonesian military officers at the Sheraton Hotel in the lowland town of Timika, near the mine. General Prabowo Subianto, son-in-law of President Suharto and commander of the Indonesian Special Forces, presided. “Mr. Moffett, to protect you, to protect your company, you have to help the military here,” General Prabowo began, according to the company employee who was present.

Mr. Moffett is said to have replied: “Just tell me what I need to do.” Each military service drew up its wish list, current and former company employees said. In short order, Freeport spent USD 35 million on military infrastructure – barracks, headquarters, mess halls, roads – and it also gave the commanders 70 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, which were replaced every few years.

Freeport started making direct monthly payments to Indonesian military commanders, while the Security Risk Management office handled the payments to the police, according to company documents and current and former employees. In interviews, current and former employees said that at least an additional USD 10 million was also paid during those years (1998-2004). The records show that the largest recipient was the commander of the troops in the Freeport area, Lt. Col. Togap F. Gultom.

During six months in 2001, Lt. Col. Togap F. Gultom was given just under USD 100,000 for “food costs,” according to the company records, and more than USD 150,000 the following year. Freeport gave at least 10 other commanders a total of more than USD 350,000 for “food costs” in 2002, according to the records. Freeport also gave commanders commercial airplane tickets for themselves and their wives and children. Generals flew first or business class and lower ranking officers flew economy, said Brig. Gen. Ramizan Tarigan, who received USD 14,000 worth of tickets in 2002 for himself and his family. In April 2002, the company gave the senior commander of forces in Papua, Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon, more than USD 64,000, for what was described in Freeport’s books as “fund for military project plan 2002.” Eight months later, in December, he was given more than USD 67,000 for a “humanitarian civic action project.” The payments were first reported by Global Witness. The police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB), a paramilitary force received more than USD 200,000 in 2003. In later filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freeport reported that it had paid the military a total of USD 4.7 million in 2001, and USD 5.6 million in 2002. More recent data is not available.

Historical Security Incident List

Below is a non-exhaustive list of similar major incidents in and around the Freeport operational area over the last 43 years[1]:

1977:

  • Aerial bombing of Akimuga (Freeport mine area) by Indonesian air force to suppress independence movement and protect Freeport. The attack was allegedly in response to local’s attack on the mine;

1994:

  • March – A Freeport employee was shot and killed on the road near Mile 62. An Australian employee was shot and wounded in the same incident. Armed forces battalions 752 and 733 were accused by human rights groups of posing as a TPN/OPM (Papuan armed separatists) unit and carrying out the attack. The military claimed it was the OPM/TPN;

1996:

  • January – OPM militants led by Kelly Kwalik held 26 members of the Lorentz Expedition; hostage in Mapenduma (borders Mimika). This triggered the Mapenduma hostage crisis;
  • March – Riots in Timika and Tembagapura by local dissatisfied Papuans upset with Freeport policies. Military is accused by locals of instigating the riots;
  • April – A shooting took place in a hangar at Timika airport by a soldier run amok. Sixteen people were killed including a New Zealander;
  • May – Mapenduma hostage crisis ended with the raid on OPM base in Geselama, Mimika, two hostages died following the KOPASSUS – Indonesian Special Forces – raid;

2001:

  • December – Two Freeport environmental unit employees were shot at the Grasberg mine site. No investigation into the attack was conducted. The shootings were reportedly carried out by unidentified gunmen wearing military uniforms;

2002:

  • April – Kopassus attacked Papuan civilians in the lowland hamlet of Kali Kopi in which one civilian was killed and seven others were arrested and allegedly tortured;
  • May – Five to seven alleged Papuans holding axes and one revolver attacked Freeport security guards at the main office building. They threw Molotov cocktails;
  • August – Gunmen attacked a group of American school teachers and local employees traveling between the lowlands and highlands. Two Americans and one Indonesian were killed, and seven Americans and an Indonesian were wounded. Indonesian officials placed responsibility on the OPM (Papuan Separatist Group). A spokesman for the group denied involvement. Elements within the military have also been accused of being involved;

2006:

  • March – Three policemen and an airman were killed and 24 other people injured during a clash with Papuan students who had been demanding closure of Freeport’s Grasberg mine;

2009:

  • March – One Indonesian army soldier was killed during an attack against a security post in Tingginambut Puncak Jaya regency, borders Mimika regency). The OPM was blamed;
  • April – An attack against a convoy of police in Tingginambut killed one and wounded six. The OPM was blamed;
  • July – Freeport employee (Australian) was shot dead in his vehicle in an attack on the Freeport road when in transit. An Indonesian Freeport security guard was also killed. Several people were injured. Some elements in Indonesian media suggested military/police involvement;
  • December – The OPM leader Kelly Kwalik was shot by Indonesian police during a raid in Timika and died in Timika Hospital;

2010:

  • January – Unknown assailants ambushed a convoy traversing the Freeport road. Nine people were injured. The OPM denied responsibility;
  • March – Unconfirmed reports from locals of multiple shooting incidents in and around the Freeport mining concession;
  • March – Rebels attacked an Indonesian military convoy, injuring some of the soldiers;

2011-2016:

  • Multiple incidents between OPM and security forces in Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya and Intan Jaya regencies on Mimika borders;
  • April (2011) – Two Freeport employees were killed when the company car they were traveling in caught fire. Bullets were found inside the car, giving weight to the suspicion that the car was fired upon by unknown gunmen;

2017:

  • September – Freeport vehicles fired upon;
  • October – BRIMOB (Armed Police Brigade) officer was shot and killed in Mimika. A West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) unit claimed responsibility;
  • November – Hostage incident in Banti/Kimbeli villages (Tembagapura). The military claimed that migrant workers from Indonesia’s Sulawesi island villages were being held hostage by the TPNPB which was disputed by a number of observers. Eventually. Indonesian police and military evacuated more than 340 Sulawesi migrants from the villages. The police stated there was an exchange of gunfire with the TPNPB. Freeport began evacuating mine workers families from the mining town of Tembagapura. Shots had been fired on a Freeport vehicle and two large mining trucks set on fire;
  • November – A BRIMOB officer was shot and killed in Mimika with an TPNPB unit taking responsibility. Two TPNPB were injured in gunfire. Freeport temporarily shut the main supply route to its Grasberg mine complex. A civilian employee of a catering service provider within Freeport died in suspicious circumstances whilst traveling to his village;

2018:

  • July – A series of gunfights were reported between the TPNPB and Indonesian security forces in Freeport area. No casualties were reported;
  • July – Increasing unrest and incidents in Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya and Intan Jaya regencies on Mimika borders;
  • December – Construction crew working on a bridge in the Nduga regency was attacked and at least 21 were killed;

2019:

  • January – Police arrested and charged three members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) with treason. They were arrested in Timika following a joint army-police raid on the KNPB headquarters;
  • November – Alleged Papuan gunmen fired at an escort car owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in Mimika around Mile 60. The expat driver and two Indonesian passengers were unscathed;

2020:

  • January – Several buses transporting employees of PT Freeport Indonesia were fired upon in another shooting by unknown attackers, believed to be Papuan separatists. The convoy of vehicles was fired at around Mile 53 between Tembagapura and Timika;
  • February – There was a clash between the security forces and a group of Papuans allegedly led by Joni Botak in Jipabera, Tembagapura Subdistrict, in Mimika District. A police officer from the mobile brigade unit was wounded in the gunfight and later died of his injuries;
  • March – A Tembagapura Sector Police car was attacked in Utikini village, Mimika Regency. The TPNPB also reported destroying a bridge on the road from Tembagapura to Opitawak that month;
  • March – A shootout between the TPNPB and the Indonesian Security Forces took place at the military Post in Opitawak village. The TPNPB claimed killing five members of the Indonesian Security Forces. These claims have been denied by the military. Reports from the area claim that 800-900 villagers from Longsoran, Batu Besar and Kimbeli villages have evacuated to a police headquarters in Tembagapura on Friday March 6 because of these incidents. At least 2,000 village refugees are now reported to be in Timika;
  • March – The military reported a fatality when one of their soldiers was shot dead while at Islamic morning prayers;
  • March – Four alleged Papuan seperatists were allegedly killed in an incident near the Freeport mine in Mimika regency. A firefight apparently took place in Kali Bua village in Mimika district near the mining town of Tembagapura between security forces and a rebel group;
  • March – A New Zealand national with gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia was killed in a shooting incident in Kuala Kencana, Mimika.

 

[1]         Data has been compiled from the APAC database, ELSAM Indonesia <www.elsam.or.id/id> and ELSHAM Papua <https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-ELSHAM-Indonesia-Papua-2012-English.pdf>

List of our Special Assessment Report produced in 2018-19

Report

Location

Date

India-Pakistan Security Assessment Report: Special status of Jammu and Kashmir revoked India & Pakistan 14-Aug-19
Thailand Security Assessment Report: Multiple Bomb Blasts in Bangkok Thailand 9-Aug-19
Special Security Assessment Report: Hong Kong Extradition Protests Hong Kong 7-Aug-19
Indonesia post election security assessment Indonesia 22-May-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Post-Election Uncertainties Thailand 14-May-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment: Sri Lanka remains on high alert under emergency laws Sri Lanka 3-May-19
(Update) Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 300 people Sri Lanka 23-Apr-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 290 people Sri Lanka 22-Apr-19
India Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 India 19-Mar-19
India-Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Diplomatic Tensions Persist After Pulwama Attack India & Pakistan 8-Mar-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 – Implications and outlook Thailand 5-Mar-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Conflicts within the ruling coalition Malaysia 18-Feb-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Princess disqualified from elections Thailand 12-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 Indonesia 12-Feb-19
India Country Assessment Report: Government proposed interim budget India 6-Feb-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: New autonomous law faces early challenges Philippines 1-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prison sentence for hate speech Indonesia 30-Jan-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Twin bomb blasts in Jolo Philippines 28-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Political parties issue statements on Section 44 Thailand 25-Jan-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Corruption pervades politics and business Indonesia 24-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Islamist militants arrested Bangladesh 22-Jan-18
India Country Assessment Report: Political turmoil in Karnataka India 21-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: GDP growth rate revised Timor Leste 18-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: Political jostle continues Timor Leste 16-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Government pulls out of IMF package Pakistan 14-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Tensions rise over election delay Thailand 14-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Strike continues in Mumbai India 11-Jan-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Negotiations with the IMF expected to restart Sri Lanka 10-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Garment workers continue protests Bangladesh 9-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: An analysis of the upcoming elections Thailand 9-Jan-19
India Country Assessment report: Two-day nationwide strike India 8-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Allied parties excluded from the new cabinet Bangladesh 7-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Political rallies planned in West Bengal India 5-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Members of parliament sworn-in Bangladesh 4-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Violent clashes reported in Kerala India 3-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence reported Thailand 3-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Security situation continues to deteriorate Pakistan 2-Jan-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: PPBM promotes self as protector of Malays Malaysia 31-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Awami League wins the elections Bangladesh 31-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Anti-terrorism operation announced Pakistan 28-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: 2018 GDP growth tops 7% Vietnam 28-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Islamic State terror plot foiled India 27-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Judicial impartiality praised Sri Lanka 26-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Nawaz Sharif convicted on corruption charges Pakistan 25-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Vehicular restrictions imposed on election day Bangladesh 24-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Suharto-style liquidation of communists Philippines 24-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: New cabinet sworn-in Sri Lanka 21-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: Calls for political freedoms Vietnam 21-Dec-18
East Asia Pacific Country Assessment Report: The economies of East Asia Pacific countries East Asia Pacific 20-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Verdicts on former PM deferred Pakistan 20-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Civilians killed in Kashmir India 19-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prabowo says Indonesia could go extinct if he loses Indonesia 19-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 18-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Bersatu to vet ex-UMNO politicians Malaysia 18-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Papuan tribesmen fear hostility Indonesia 17-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the prime minister Sri Lanka 17-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh confirmed India 15-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: UMNO exodus continues Malaysia 15-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 14-Dec-18
Cambodia Country Assessment Report: Cambodia eases ban on opposition Cambodia 14-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Martial law in Mindanao extended Philippines 13-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: US blacklists Pakistan Pakistan 13-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Jokowi skips Human Rights Day event Indonesia 12-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Congress Party wins in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh India 12-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Hasina to begin campaign Bangladesh 11-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Najib arrested Malaysia 11-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: President Sirisena dismisses snap presidential elections Sri Lanka 10-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General election date confirmed; concerns over fairness Thailand 10-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Extension of Mindanao martial law sought Philippines 8-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Large-scale anti-ICERD rally tomorrow Malaysia 7-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: olitical tensions rise in Pakistan Pakistan 7-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Parties to boycott NCPO meeting Thailand 6-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Report: Political crisis continues Sri Lanka 6-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report:: Factional rivalry causes violent clashes Bangladesh 5-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report:: Military, police evacuate survivors of rebel attacks Indonesia 5-Dec-18
APAC Assistance Special Report – Current Terrorism Threat in Australia Australia 4-Dec-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – India Ground Transport Assessment India 4-Dec-18
Papua New Guinea Risk Case Study Papua New Guinea 28-Nov-18
Thai Special Report: Assessment of Thailand’s Upcoming General Election Thailand 18-Nov-18
Special Country Report: Update on Freeport Indonesia 14-Nov-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – Bangladesh Election Synopsis Southeast Asia 22-Oct-18
Malaysia Special Feature Malaysia 13-Oct-18
Myanmar Special Feature Myanmar 9-Oct-18
APAC Assistance: Cambodia Country Report Cambodia 13-Aug-18
APAC Assistance: Vietnam Country Report Vietnam 11-Aug-18
An Assessment of Increased Risk from New People’s Army, Philippines Philippines 28-Jun-18
APAC PNG Report: Summary of Recent POM Incidents Papua New Guinea 14-May-18
Thailand’s Emerging Political Parties and Personalities Thailand 23-Apr-18
Indonesia General Election Synopsis Indonesia 2-Mar-18
Thailand General Election Synopsis Thailand 26-Feb-18
SE Asia Hot Issues Report Southeast Asia 29-Jan-18

APAC Assistance Panel Discussion on elections in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia together with Bhargav Reddy and Carol Librojo discuss the general elections in India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Paul is one of Asia Pacific’s most versatile security and disaster management professionals. Paul has held various demanding roles in military and civil positions. He is a rare expert in the risk management sector with an advanced commercial acumen. Paul has an extensive network throughout South Asia, SE Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific Islands. His network includes business executives, contractors for various industry sectors, government personnel, international agencies, and armed forces.

Carol Librojo heads our analytical team. She mentors our researchers and analysts while guiding the production of APAC-A reports and publications. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. She once headed the monitoring and assessment unit of the Philippines’ National Security Council-Secretariat. She also served as Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Presidential Situation Room, a unit that provides round-the-clock news monitoring and intelligence updates to the Philippine President.

Bhargav Reddy leads South Asia operations of APAC Assistance. He graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with a master’s in International Business and Politics. His most recent experience was with Pinkerton as an Intelligence Specialist for APAC and EMEA regions.

The general elections in India were held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes is underway and the results are expected on 23 May.  The exit polls have indicated that the ruling BJP is likely to return to power with an overwhelming majority. The BJP led by Prime Minister Modi had won the general elections in 2014 after defeating the Congress Party which was in power since 2004.

The Thai Elections were held on March 24. It was the first election since the 2014 military intervention that installed General Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister. The election results are expected to be formalized on May 22.

The Philippine Senatorial Elections were conducted on May 13. Those elected in this midterm election will take office on June 30, midway through the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The mid-term elections were a referendum of Duterte’s governance and his controversial policies which include his war on drugs.

The Indonesia Elections were held on April 17. This is the first time in Indonesia’s election history that the president, the vice president, members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, and members of local legislative bodies were elected on the same day. Elections results are expected on May 22 while the quick count of votes shows a clear victory for President Widodo. The final official count of the General Election Commission (KPU) shows President Joko Widodo winning with 55.5% of votes against the 44.5% of his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto. The KPU released the official results of the April presidential election early today. Widodo won over 85 million of the total 154 million votes. The results, however, could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

APAC Assistance Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research

v3_GdF_Transnational Crime PPT

 

Database Extraction of Transnational Crime & Cash Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Transnational Crimes & Cash Smuggling)

 

Database Extraction of Domestic & Gang Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Domestic & Gang Crimes)

 

Database Extraction of  CiT Vehicle Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(CiT Vehicle Robbery)

 

Database Extraction of International Heist Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(International Heists)

 

Database Extraction of Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery)

 

APAC Assistance CIT Truck Features

 

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Zardari threatens to topple government. Former president and Pakistan People’s Party co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari accused the government of trying to roll back the 18th amendment of the Constitution and targeting the opposition parties with corruption charges. He was speaking at a rally on the 40th death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan who was sentenced to death and hanged by the military government in 1979. He said It is time to march towards Islamabad and oust the government. He said that if the Prime minister does not have funds and if he can’t collect funds through the Federal Board of Revenue then he should leave. Tensions between the political parties have been rising with multiple corruption cases against the opposition party leaders. Tensions can potentially trigger nationwide unrest if the protests by the opposition parties gain traction across the country.

 

BANGLADESH

(Update) Jute mill workers protest turns violent. Into its third day, the protest by the jute mill workers turned violent yesterday, leaving more than 16 people injured in Khulna district. Workers from major mills including Crescent, Platinum, Khalishpur, Daulatpur, Star, Eastern, and Alim Jute Mills held separate demonstrations to press home their nine-point demand which includes clearing their arrears, clearing gratuity and insurance payments of retired workers and regularising temporary workers. Jute mill workers also blockaded roads and railways in different parts of the country during their demonstration.  Clients are advised to steer clear of still ongoing protests and plan for potential transport and road travel disruptions.

 

Travel Alert by the United States. The United State Embassy in Dhaka has updated its travel advisory for Bangladesh. The US embassy has cautioned that In light of calls for revenge in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attack against two mosques in New Zealand, U.S. citizens should exercise heightened awareness of the ongoing threat posed by transnational terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida. The update comes about a month after the Christchurch attack. Nore of the other Five Eyes countries including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have issued a similar alert. Clients are advised to note the updated advisory from the US embassy and employ caution while traveling in Bangladesh.

 

INDIA

Highways closed for civilian traffic. The government of  Jammu and Kashmir has announced that civilian traffic will be banned on the Baramulla-Jammu highway twice weekly to facilitate movement of security forces. A government spokesman said, “No civilian traffic movement will be allowed along the highway on Sundays and Wednesdays between 4 am and 5 pm. Keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the parliamentary elections and associated possibility of the fidayeen terror attack on security forces’ convoys”. The restrictions will remain in force till May 31. The decision has been taken after the February 14 terror attack on a paramilitary convoy at Pulwama along the highway which left 44 security personnel dead and several others wounded. The spokesman said that another “possible fidayeen attack” on another security force convoy at Banihal took place on March 30 but was foiled by the security forces. Security in the state has continued to deteriorate since the suicide attack and cross border shelling and firing continues along the line of control. Clients are advised to avoid all nonessential travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

 

INDONESIA

Terror suspects arrested. The anti-terrorism Special Detachment 88 arrested a suspected leader of terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Karawang, West Java on April 3. The suspect was allegedly involved in several terror acts last year, including the bombings in Surabaya. He is now detained in East Karawang, West Java. The anti-terror arrests are indicative of persistent terror threat, and Indonesian authorities are likely to step up such operations to ensure a trouble-free election this coming April 17. There is no certainty that all terrorists with a plan to disrupt the upcoming elections have been arrested. Clients are advised to employ extra caution for the entire election season. As much as possible, avoid political campaign rallies and religious events. Be alert and cautious near polling stations.

 

THAILAND

Election Commission orders recount. The Election Commission ordered the recounting of votes at two polling stations in Khon Kaen province and re-voting at six polling units in Bangkok, Lampang, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, and Yasothon. The commission said recounts are needed for the Khon Kaen polling stations because the first counts were inconsistent with the number of voters and marked ballots. New voting is needed in polling stations where the number of voters who turned up on March 24 did not match the number of marked ballot papers. The Election Commission’s order of recount and re-voting gives credence to allegations of election-related anomalies. However, the recount and re-voting in the eight polling units are not expected to significantly affect the outcome of the elections.

 

PHILIPPINES

Duterte rebukes China.  President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted China to keep away from Thitu Island, an island in the Spratly archipelago held by the Philippines. He said he would send troops to defend the island if necessary. Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the presence of Chinese boats near Thitu Island is “illegal” and a “clear violation” of national sovereignty. The Philippine Navy has said it had spotted almost 300 Chinese vessels, suspected to be militia boats, near Thitu Island from January to March. Duterte’s statement was a rare rebuke of China. The president has chosen to be friendly with China in exchange for Chinese investments and aid. He has publicly said several times that the Philippines cannot go to war with China because the country is no match to the Asian superpower. China is yet to respond to Duterte’s latest statement.

 

CAMBODIA

Opposition leader calls for Hun Sen’s ouster. Exiled acting Cambodia National Rescue Party chief Sam Rainsy has called on the Cambodian public to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen like the Algerians recently did to their ruler. He said he would throw his support behind Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng if he were to stage a coup. Hun Sen has been Cambodia’s PM since 1985 and is expected not to transfer power until his dying days or until one of his sons is ready to assume leadership of Cambodia. The chances of a successful coup against him in the foreseeable future remain uncertain.

 

SOUTH KOREA

Fire triggers an evacuation. An enormous fire in the South Korean border town of Goseong left at least one person dead, injured at least 11 others, destroyed about 120 houses, and forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. The blaze broke out yesterday in the northeastern province of Gangwon near the frontier with North Korea. It is now subdued after South Korea mobilized about 200 firetrucks and 2,700 emergency personnel and firefighters to battle the inferno.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, THURSDAY, April 4, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

THURSDAY, April 4, 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Pakistan debt at alarming levels. Finance Minister Asad Umar said yesterday that Pakistan’s basic debts have reached an alarmingly high level and that the country is near bankruptcy. Pakistan is in an economic crisis over mounting external debt, with more than USD 60 billion owed to China alone. Pakistan continues its prolonged negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and has entered a final round of talks last week with the aid agency for an economic assistance package. Asad Umar defended the economic policies of the government, claiming that the inflation has not increased to double digits despite the debt crisis.

 

BANGLADESH

(Update) Jute mill workers continue protests. Jute mills workers in different parts of the country continued their protests for the second day yesterday, blocking off railway tracks and highways over unpaid wages and other benefits. A shutdown was enforced by workers of nine state-owned jute mills across several districts including Khulna, Jessore, Rajshahi, and Chittagong, on the second day of the 72-hour strike. Protesters claimed that the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation promised to fulfill only one point of their nine-point demand, and did not give any directives regarding the other eight. Clients are advised to avoid all protests and employ high caution in the districts affected by the rallies and the blockades. Consider contingency plans for potential supply chain disruptions.

 

SRILANKA

Colombo police use teargas on students. The police fired tear gas on protesting university students near the Parliament roundabout in Colombo yesterday. The protest forced traffic in the area to grind to a standstill. The students marched from Rajagiriya to the Parliament roundabout, demanding an audience with the Education Minister. The protest took place while Parliament sessions were underway, prompting the city police to block the road leading to the facility. The students then pushed down the barricades, forcing the police to fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Students are likely to continue their protest today. Student demonstrations near the legislature are common, and skirmishes between security forces and protesters do sometimes erupt. Clients are advised to avoid the vicinity of the Parliament building in Colombo while rallies are in progress. Special traffic measures may be implemented near Parliament and surrounding areas; seek road advisories and plan your routes accordingly.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, THURSDAY, April 4 2019

Paul Quaglia  – APAC Assistance Director

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

THURSDAY, April 4 2019

 

INDONESIA

Widodo retains lead in the opinion polls. Two new surveys indicate that President Joko Widodo and his running mate, Mar’ruf Amin, will win in the April 17 presidential election, with the election just two weeks away. The Melbourne-based Roy Morgan released yesterday its March survey of 1,102 respondents across Indonesia showing that the Widodo-Ma’ruf pair is 13% ahead of their rivals. The margin is lower than in February when the Widodo-Ma’ruf tandem was 14% ahead of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. Another survey of 1,200 respondents released on April 2, that of Indo Barometer, also showed that 50.8% of voters were expected to vote for Jokowi-Ma’ruf, compared to Prabowo-Sandiaga’s 32%. An 18% gap in favor of team Jokowi. The survey also gathered information that explained why Indonesians would be voting for Widodo-Ma’ruf. The latest survey of the Indo Barometer, an Indonesian research company, adds to other Indonesian polls showing that Widodo and Ma’ruf will win with 17% to 20% margin over their rivals. The Roy Morgan survey is different from the Indonesian polls in that it shows a lower margin for Widodo-Ma’ruf, 14%. It confirms a survey by Kompas last month showing Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno gaining momentum as voting day approaches. The decline of Widodo’s lead, however, is not as big as in the Kompas survey, where Widodo’s margin was reduced to 11%.

 

THAILAND

Sedition case against Thanathorn. The Pathumwan police station in Bangkok summonsed Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to appear on April 6 to answer a sedition complaint. Thanathorn is accused of helping anti-coup demonstrators in 2015 escape arrests, a crime punishable by up to nine years in jail. Col. Burin Thongprapai, legal affairs chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, said that in May 2015, about 20 demonstrators protested at the Pathumwan police station and fled in a van, escaping arrests and detention by authorities. The authorities found later that the van was owned by Thanathorn. The sedition complaint against Thanathorn suggests that he and his Future Forward Party are being targeted by the military regime. Thanathorn and several other officials of the party are also facing a cybercrime charge over a speech made on Facebook criticizing the military government in July 2018. Prosecutors will decide on April 26 whether to put the party leaders on trial for the cybercrime charge. The Future Forward Party made a strong showing in the March 24 election, coming in third with 6.2 million votes, after the Palang Pracharat Party and the Pheu Thai Party. It has joined a coalition led by the Pheu Thai Party that has vowed to block Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha from staying in power.

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Protests against mining company. Porgera town in the central Enga province has come to a standstill as 17 of 24 landowners and their supporters stageed protests, calling for gold miner Barrick (Niugini) Limited to leave the mining area. The Porgera landowners have been given the opportunity to speak their minds on Barrick’s application for renewal of mining lease for another 20 years. Barrick has operated the Porgera mining area for 30 years and its special mining lease is expiring on August 19.   The fate of Barrick’s application for mining lease extension is uncertain. Barrick’s mining operations in Porgera have been hounded by many controversies, including alleged exploitation of miners and violence against the locals. The Porgera landowners have the support of the Enga provincial government. Clients in Papua New Guinea are advised to avoid protest-hit areas in Porgera and exercise high caution across the town at this time due to ongoing tensions.

 

MALAYSIA

Najib pleads not guilty. Former prime minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to three counts of breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of power at the Kuala Lumpur High Court complex yesterday. The charges were related to transfers totaling USD 10.3 million into Najib’s bank account from SRC International, a former unit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The trial started at 2:00 PM and was adjourned to April 15 at 5:36 PM. Najib is facing a total of 42 charges over his alleged involvement in the looting of USD 4.5 billion state funds from 1MDB. The trial of 1MDB cases will be a test of the functioning of Malaysia’s judicial system.

 

PHILIPPINES

Explosion in Sultan Kudarat province. More than 18 people were injured in an explosion outside a small restaurant in Isulan town in southern Sultan Kudarat province on the Mindanao island yesterday. Military officials said the attack was believed to be either an extortion attempt or retaliation by Islamist separatist militants targeted in recent military offensives. Unidentified people had recently tried to extort money from the restaurant owner, who refused to pay up. Authorities are also looking into the possibility that the attack was carried out by Muslim militants belonging to the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who have been targeted by military offensives. Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province witnessed two consecutive bomb attacks in August and September 2018 carried out by suspected BIFF militants who have aligned with the Islamic State group. The bombings, which injured five people and injured 45 others, occurred despite tightened security on the Mindanao island. The whole of Mindanao has been under martial law since the five-month long siege in Marawi City in May 2017. Clients in the southern Philippines are advised to employ high caution in Sultan Kudarat. Travel to high-risk insurgency and kidnapping hotbeds, particularly in Western Mindanao, is not advisable.

 

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