This is developing drama.
The decades – old independence struggle across the border which began in 1960s has consolidated in recent years under the United Liberation Movement for West Papua or ULMWP.
ULMWP is the umbrella civil society organisation which united pro – Independence Papuan nationalist groups namely WPNCL, FRWP or Federasi, and KNPB or PP.
Victor Yeimo was the international spokesman for KNPB, and has made presentations in recent years at UN forums to advance the West Papua demand for self – rule through diplomatic or peaceful means.
His arrest comes at a time when ULMWP gained crucial hard yards as it successfully stepped up its diplomacy in regional forums through MSG and PIF, as well as with other multilateral forums including ACP.
West Papua currently has observer status in MSG.
Since 2018 MSG Leaders Summit held in Port Moresby, PNG, West Papua’s application to be a full member is on the table for MSG consideration under new guidelines for membership.
Apart from West Papua, Kanaky or New Caledonia has also put its case for self – determination to MSG. This arises from the colonial context both Melanesian countries have due to colonial administration which began in 1960s.
France has offered 3 opportunities for the indigenous Melanesians of Kanaky to choose a political future separate from France. The last referendum or Referendum 3 is scheduled for this year, 2021. It is likely indigenous Kanaka will choose independence.
The arrest of Victor Yeimo reflects the dilemma faced by Indonesia to consider the painful, fearful, yet breakthrough, option for the West Papua issue to be resolved peacefully through international best – practice.
It also shows that West Papua is an international issue. And, international opinion is swinging, changing, and the tide of history is turning in favor of West Papua.
Meanwhile, the armed wing of the freedom struggle or OPM is reported to have escalated clashes with Indonesian security forces. In latest reports, the Indonesian Intelligence Bureau Chief Brigadier General Danny Karya Nugraha was killed, prompting President Widodo to declare swift and large-scale military retaliations.
The ambush by OPM insurgents is possibly a strong statement on the development of the rebel army’s lethal capability to fight it’s war of liberation and independence in West Papua.
The West Papua issue is a time bomb on Australia’s doorstep.
(Photo caption: West Papua revolution – 2000 ‘ Papuan Spring’ ripples 20 years on, Papuan nationalism triggered off awakening of Melanesian consciousness with MSG and PIF solidarity for West Papua forming the changing vocabulary on decolonisation in the Pacific; ULMWP – the umbrella pro – independence Papuan nationalist group united the independence struggle inside, and outside West Papua with 3 main political parties joining up behind ULMWP to put the case for self – rule to the international community; KNPB international spokesman Victor Yeimo – arrested overnight; OPM armed wing – escalated clashes with Indonesian security forces in recent weeks, Indonesian Intelligence Bureau Chief Indonesian Brigadier General Danny Karya Nugraha was killed.)