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The Return of East Yapen, the Impact of Development in Papua

west papua news – Yapen Timur (East Yapen) is a small district in Yapen Islands Regency. The Yapen Islands themselves are a group of small islands in the north of Papuan mainland. With an area of 18,746 km2, this archipelago has only 96,238 inhabitants. Yapen Islands Regency was formerly known as Yapen Waropen Regency. But after the division of the area from the original regency to the Autonomous Regency of Waropen, the people of Yapen Waropen decided to change the name of their own regency so there will be no duplicate name.

Along with other areas in Papua, East Yapen had also sponsored a separatist group calling itself Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM or Free Papua Organization). While still active in guerrilla warfare in East Yapen, this group was chaired by Kris Nussy who also had another name Corinus Sireri. Kris has been a member of the organization since 1997. Since then, Kris must be willing to guerrilla in the jungle. They were actively opposed the government, hiding in the depth of forest and mountain. Although their work was sporadic and on a small scale, the group always tried as much as possible to bring down the Indonesian military serving in East Yapen.

Indeed, at that time, development in Papua was not as extensive as it is today. The condition of Papua, which is still largely in the form of tropical jungle, has made it difficult to distribute various clothing, food and shelter needs. This had also caused Papua to be far behind other Indonesian provinces. The price of food and fuel were several times more expensive than the prices commonly found in Java.

These difficulties had caused Papuan to feel miserable and feel unnoticed by Indonesia. This further fostered the propaganda of the Free Papua Organization and succeeded in inciting many young Papuans to become part of the separatist group. Propaganda has spread to various universities in Papua and West Papua. The Morning Star attribute is often incorporated on the new student admission event. Even though several people were already investigated, this kind of incident is still occurred nowadays.

west papua news – Kris just realized that he and his men had been deceived by certain parties who incited them with the promise of Papuan independence. Kris and his members had been fighting for “freedom” for 20 years but until the moment he surrendered to Indonesia there had been no actual result. Not only did he experience loss of time and energy, Papuan also hated him. He had a very hard time to meet his own family. He had to leave his wife and six children in Mamarimp Village. His family also had a hard time living because of his status as separatist group member. He could not support his family due to his condition, he lost a lot of memories of his children growing up.

Kris decided to finally surrender and return to Indonesia after he saw concrete evidence of development in Papua. Various infrastructures that have slowly built in Papua in the past decade have brought many benefits to the people of Papua and West Papua. The economy are moving faster, the distribution of daily necessities has become easier, various prices of basic commodities have decreased, even electricity has begun to reach villages in remote Papua. “I see the development is going well. I heard car sounds, I saw others have beautiful houses,” Kris said.

Finally on August 15, 2017, Kris and 12 of its members surrendered to the Yapen Islands Regent. Kris also handed over 12 firearms owned by his troops. On August 17, 2017, Kris and his members officially returned to the Republic of Indonesia. The ceremony was held at Wadafi Hills, Wadamom District, East Yapen. A lot of people came with Indonesian flag attributes. Kris and his members also wore them. The ceremony was attended by Head of the Regional Intelligence Agency and also Yapen Island Regent. The atmosphere became quiet and solemn when the pledge to return to Indonesia was declared. As the military and ex-separatists held hands at the end of the ceremony, they repeatedly shouted “We are Indonesia” loud and clear. People erupted in cheers.

The return of these OPM members has taken place several times over the past decade. Hundreds of them have realized that their struggle has been futile. Nobody really could guarantee their prosperity even if they really managed to seize the land of Papua from Indonesia. On the contrary, the Indonesian government actually proves its commitment to continue building Papua and West Papua.

west papua news – Although history has long recorded Papua as part of the archipelago, there are still many separatists who do not heed the fact that Papua is also the forerunner of the establishment of Indonesia. The formation of a separatist group like the Free Papua Organization is a test for the unity of the Indonesian people. Papua has been a part of this nation since the Majapahit era and will remain a part of this nation forever. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity.



Anggawiria, R. (n.d.). Pentolan OPM Sadar, Jokowi Bapaknya Orang Papua Juga. Retrieved from Seword: https://seword.com/umum/pentolan-opm-sadar-jokowi-bapaknya-orang-papua-juga

Siagian, W. (2017, August 15). Jelang HUT RI, OPM Yapen Timur Serahkan Diri dan 12 Senapan. Retrieved from Detik: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-3601171/jelang-hut-ri-opm-yapen-timur-serahkan-diri-dan-12-senapan

Siagian, W. (2017, August 16). Merasa Ditipu, Panglima OPM Yapen Timur Kembali Gabung NKRI. Retrieved from Detik: https://news.detik.com/berita/3601373/merasa-ditipu-panglima-opm-yapen-timur-kembali-gabung-nkri

Wikipedia. (2016, February 4). Yapen Timur, Kepulauan Yapen. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yapen_Timur,_Kepulauan_Yapen

Wikipedia. (2018, August 6). Kabupaten Kepulauan Yapen. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabupaten_Kepulauan_Yapen

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Papua. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papua

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