Indonesian military attacks against West Papua

The Attacks
The Units
The Equipment


This is a listing from US and Australian publications of known Indonesian military operations against the people and nation of West Papua. Although the Indonesian attacks 1950-1962 may appear inept and amature productions by mordern standards of insurgency and warfare; the intent to remove the West New Guinea Council government and the disregard of Papua's human rights can not be denied.

During previous centuries there had been repeated Asian piracy efforts to kidnap Papuan people as slaves; during the WW-II Japanese invasion too many Papuan people had suffered at the hands of an enemy working with Sukarno and his Javanese militia. As the only pre-1950 West Papuan experience of Java was and continues to consist of Asian piracy, and as an Axis power and oil supplier; it is difficult to understand why Indonesia believed the US and other populations would view its demands for Western New Guinea as anything other than a neo-colonial land grab.

U.S. and Australian policy makers should also consider the traditional fashion by which the Javanaese military elite have manipulated the United States and others into supplying equipment, military Aid, and political endorsement.

The Insurgencies 

6 men landed at Sansapor on the north coast, they were quickly arrested (*).
Jan 1952
Landing by boat on West New Guinea's Gag Island, the New York Times reports Dutch saying 43 men were arrested by local police (*), though other references say 28 men; the Indonesian men are quickly spotted and arrested.
May 1953
17 Indonesians the Dutch claim were soldiers from a Celebes (Sulawesi) detachment with a Papuan guide land near Fakfak; intercepted by Dutch marines, the leading sergeant and two others were shot before others were arrested and sentenced to one to six year in prison (*).
Oct 1953
21 armed men of the 25th Indonesian Infantry Regiment trained in guerrilla warfare and another 21 locals recruited from Aru Island entered Etna Bay flying a Dutch flag and proceeded inland. Intercepted by marines, four were shot, five killed by Papuan natives, and twenty eight arrested during first two months. Eventualy eleven died and the others were sentenced to four years before being returned to Indonesia (*).
9 Nov 1960
After ten men desert the Pasukan Gerilya 100 unit lands along the southern coast with 23 insurgents; after local Papuans report seeing armed intruders 16 were captured and 7 were shot during the next four months.
14 Sep 1961
Pasukan Gerilya 200 unit lands 32 insurgents with morta, grenades and Lee Enfield rifles near Sorong; quickly spotted by local Papuans 29 were captured, 2 shot, and one believe eaten by crocodiles during three months attempting to evade capture.
15 Jan 1962
Pasukan Gerilya 300 leaves Jakarta with approx. 115 insurgents on four Jaguar class torpedo boats, three boats reached the Aru Sea where two Dutch destroyers pursued them and sunk the lead boat with Commodore Yos Sudarso. 51 survivors were picked up, detained until March and with UN aid (*) repatiated to Java when they commenced training for PG-400 insurgency in May/1962.

The Attacks

On 2nd Jan 1962 Indonesia ordered the creation of the Mandala Command headed by Brig. General Suharto to control operations against West Papua. Although intending to continue the military effort into 1963 with Operasi Jaya Wijaya, this proved unneccessary once the "pro-Indonesia group at the Whitehouse" convinced the US President to coerce the Netherlands to sign the "New York Agreement". The Mandala Command decided to continue Pasukan Gerilya 300 infiltation efforts.
Mar 1962
A Pasukan Gerilya 300 unit using motorised canoes take cover on Gag Island after been seen; they were soon captured.
Mar 1962
A Pasukan Gerilya 300 unit using motorised canoes take cover near Waigeo Island before one was eaten by sharks while trying to return to Java before being captured.
26 Apr 1962
40 guerrilla paratroopers of DPC Team 3 flew by Dakotas towards Fak-Fak; the first guerrilla was arrested after asking a Papuan on a canoe for help and who was delivered instead to the Police. Three months later the last insurgent was arrested.
26 Apr 1962
32 guerrilla paratroopers of DPC Team 4 flew by Dakotas towards Kaimana; evaded capture for almost three months but whose commander Lieut. Heru Sisnodo's diary was also captured, translated in part sayinng:
"I am disillusioned because I did not select these [PGT] that face this tough operation and I cry because the Papuans do not support us. They do not give us food: we must look for our own food or barter with our valuable equipment. They report our movements to the Dutch."
15-25 May 1962
PGT commandos and army paratroopers jump near Fak-Fak; 20 Police rangers approach coastline with speedboats; PGT and army paratroopers jump near Kaimana; and PGT commandos jump near Sorong while Pasukan Gerilya 400 made a sea landing. The Police rangers were arrested on route to the beach, some PGT commandos held a small village shortly near Sorong while the rest of the parachutists were quickly captured or fleeing capture.

The Units 

Kopassus as the most infamous and feared Indonesian forces, deserves special mention. Although a military Special Forces unit, the primary selection criteria is closer to the old Soviet Political Officer criteria, a dedication to the State which over-rides other considerations.

With a single minded duty to maintain or enforce unity of the State, the Kopassus units have an unequal record in quelling civil movements and populations suspected of supporting independence interests. Kopassus remains one of Indonesia's trump cards for retaining the twenty seven Provinces outside of Java.

KOPASSUS / Special Forces names since 1950
Kesatuan Komando Territorium 111  
Korps Komando AD1953KKAD
Resimen Pasukan Komando AD1954RPKAD
Resimen Para Komando AD1959RPKAD
Pusat Pasukan Khusus AD1960PUSPASSUS AD
Korps Pasukan Sandhi Yudha1971KOPASANDHA

The Equipment