TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Head of Papua Police’s community guidance task force, Grand Commissioner Eko Sutardo, shared his heart-wrenching experience while blending in with children that live within areas prone to conflict.
He recalled to the moment children expressing eagerness upon growing up to be a soldier for the Free Papua Organization (OPM).
“We often meet children living in the area of conflicts and ask them what they dream to be once they grow up, we found answers of wanting to grow up becoming an OPM member,” said Eko when Tempo met him in South Jakarta on Tuesday, December 11.
Eko theorized that children directly meet armed separatists in conflict-prone areas and perceive the men holding rifles as an example to look up to, which is made worse by the hateful doctrines taught by the separatist members.
“I want to be just like those brothers that hold weapons, travel, fire the weapons, and have lots of money,” said Eko imitating the child’s sentence.
He argues that the flux of these separatist groups is driven by the hateful doctrines and post-conflict trauma experienced by them which is made worse by the absence of any reasonable trauma healing efforts.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Adriana Elisabeth said that the lack of any proper government-driven trauma healing program contributes to the reason why shootings and human rights violations by separatists often reoccur in Papua.