Moeldoko Blames Benny Wenda for Widespread Papua Unrest

The Tempo Magazine reports Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army, Moeldoko identified Benny Wenda as a person he recalled had committed foreign intervention that eventually caused the unrest in Papua and West Papua.

“Isn’t it clear, that Benny Wenda [is behind it],” said Moeldoko.

He said Benny was responsible for spreading false and misleading information. “That’s what he does in Australia and the United Kingdom,” said the chief of staff.

Benny is known as the leader of the West Papua Liberation Movement who was charged for allegedly mobilizing the people responsible for the burning of a police headquarters back in 2002. Benny escaped from prison in the midst of a court proceeding.

Reports suggest Benny sought political asylum from the United Kingdom in 2003 and declared to return to Papua to lead a referendum agenda in the region.

As quoted from Tempo English Magazine, September 2-8 edition, the interview with Benny entitled “No Room for Democracy in Papua” revealed that he instructed Papuans to not participate in the Indonesian independence annual celebrations on August 17.

“I did write a circular several weeks before the Indonesian independence day celebrations. The contents urged Papuans not to join the ceremonies. But the demonstrations in Surabaya, which spread to Papua, were spontaneous. It was the Papuan people who acted,” said Benny Wenda in the exclusive interview with Tempo English Magazine.

General TNI Dr. Moeldoko is an Indonesian government official and retired general serving as the current Chief of Staff of the President for President Joko Widodo, previously serving as Commander of the National Armed Forces.