Economical Motives behind the Papua KST Terror Action – A Separatism and Terrorism Group (KST) of Papua is people enemy who always hampers a development. It is supposed they have economical motive that makes them conducting a brutal attack and having the heart to kill their own ethnic fellow.

KST is a rebel group at Papua, which is a part of OPM (Free Papua Organization). They are a rioting group often attacking both security forces and civil society.

 Even, not frequently they caused casualties, even though the victims were also fellow Papuans. KST caused trouble by shooting 10 residents in Nduga in July 2022, and one of the victims was a priest. They didn’t care about the status of the victim, a commoner or a priest, they were still brutally executed.

KST also acted brutally by killing a gold miner in an illegal mine, and showing off his victim’s decapitated head.

A Papuan traditional leader Yanto Eluay stated that KST members are also indigenous Papuan children from mountainous areas.

They should not conduct atrocities like murder and others. Yanto suspects that there is an economic motive behind the KST terror act, because many people are currently in a difficult financial situation.

KST’s action was not purely a defection, but more tends to the economy. In a sense, it could be because of the pandemic and an economic shock, so KST went to a residential area and stormed a shop in Nduga before carrying out the mass killings. The grocery store was ransacked and it could be that they intended to rob the contents. But instead turned into a massive raid.

The economic motive, which is suspected to be the cause of the increasingly brutal KST, is a natural thing. They feel life is getting more difficult, especially during a pandemic. It is not known how they survive in the forest, either by farming or by other means.

There is a video that has gone viral in Papua, where a new KST member smacks the village head (whose area is not mentioned). The KST member pretended to ask for a drink, then threatened and asked for help in the form of rice and money, which he would give to his friends who were struggling in the forest.

He promised to come back again to get it. The village head, who pretended to agree, then contacted the security forces. After that, on the promised day, he and the residents evacuated and placed a cardboard box in front of their honai. The KST members were deceived because the box contained trash, not food. They could not attack because they had been attacked by the hiding apparatus.

From the video, it can be seen that KST is really pressed when living in the forest. The video is not based on a film scenario, but a real event. It is proven that KST is getting more and more difficult to eat and trying to survive during the pandemic, and is increasingly robbing people.

The economical motives expressed by Yanto Eluay is also revealed when KST murdered a gold miner at illegal mine. They were getting angry by claiming that the mine belonged to KST, and thought everyone else was a rival and had to be eliminated. Even though it is clear that the mine is illegal and does not belong to an individual, let alone KST’s.

From the cases involving KST, it can be seen that their lives are increasingly more miserable in the forest. Either the harvest failed or there was no support for their activities. So far, it is suspected that there is a mastermind behind KST who supplies everything from firearms to cash. But it could be that the assistance is reduced, because of the pandemic that hit Indonesia.

The source of KST’s funds is still being investigated and when they were caught, there was evidence of a transfer from Lekagak Telenggen to buy firearms. This was stated by the a Deputy for Public Relations of the Cartenz Peace Task Force AKBP Arief Fajar. This case is still in the investigation and inspection stage, and the police are trying to catch who the main contributor to KST is.

However, a political observer Al Chairi doubts who the contributors to KST are, because they may be forced to do so, for fear of losing their lives. If the donor is revealed, they should report it to the security forces. Instead of continuing to donate, this will only foster the KST action in Papua.

KST’s economical motives are still being tracked, whether it’s true that they are increasingly languishing in the forest, or the contributors are starting to resign one by one. What is clear is that they feel the pain of guerrillas themselves, so to just drink water, they have to ask the locals.

It is better for KST to repent and to return to the motherland’s lap, rather than carrying firearms, starving and finally brutally robbing civilians’ property. It is time for the security forces to take firm action against groups that are proven to have no commitment to advancing their fellow Papuans.

Author: Saby Kosay (Papuan student living in Yogyakarta)

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