Border patrols try to control the flow of people and resources between the divided halves of Papua.
TNI-AD, or Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Darat, is the land forces branch of the Indonesian army. Historically, most military-political power rested with the land forces, after the military coup of 1965 that saw the dictator Suharto come to power amidst TNI-led massacres of up to a million supposed communists in Indonesia. After the coup, the army was given a 'dwi-fungsi' or 'dual function', bestowing a role in defence but also as actors in society. TNI held a guaranteed 30% of seats in the national parliament.
After pro-democracy protests led to the fall of Suharto in 1998, the military's role in politics has gradually been curtailed. TNI-AD remain powerful actors in politics and economics throughout Indonesian controlled territories however, including West Papua. Generals are large landholders and hold controlling shares in many of the palm oil, gold, coal and logging operations in front-line regions such as Kalimantan and West Papua.
A powerful reason West Papuans are resisting the division of their land into 5, instead of the current 2, provinces, is that each Indonesian province has its own KODAM, or Military Area Command. Each KODAM means an entire battalion of soldiers and another of police, along with new bases at district, town and even village level. The division of Papua into 5 provinces would see a massive escalation in militarisation of the territory.
Nationalism is high among TNI troops, many of whom carry a flag for photo ops such as this one near the border of West Papua and Papua New Guinea.
Throughout West Papua, people are calling for the withdrawal of troops from their lands, an end to state violence and the start of peaceful dialogue to resolve the conflict. The continuing international supply of weapons to soldiers like those pictured adds legitimacy along with lethality to Indonesian forces occupying West Papua.
This soldier was caught on film firing his imported rifle at West Papuans in the highlands.
Ares-Elbit Mekatroic Mortar
The Cardom Mekatronic Mortar features ‘forward observer (FO) target acquisition sensors’ that can fire 16 mortars per minute with a range of up to 7km.Elbit's Brazilian subsidiary, Ares, makes and sells this weapon to TNI's Mechanics Battalions.
The CEO of Australian company EOS CEO Ben Greene with then Defense Minister Christopher Pyne, launching the EOS-Elbit T2000 ‘turret with the works’ in 2019.
This was a proud collaboration between Australian company EOS and Elbit Systems Australia. The ‘turret with the works’ has since been sold to Indonesia, for use on Czech Pandur tanks. CEO Ben Greene promotes the T2000 as supporting a wide range of ‘lethality solutions’ and having ‘unprecedented firepower’.
Elbit UT30MK2 unmanned turret
This configurable unmanned turret allows the attacker to sit safely inside the armoured vehicle and shoot at 'soft targets' aka human beings via video screen. Elbit has sold this weapon to the Indonesian infantry or TNI-AD.
The V-22 Osprey Transport helicopter is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. They are priced at $70 million. Data from SIPRI indicates Indonesia ordered eight V-22’s in 2020.
A Boeing 737 is used to transport troops to West Papua in February 2021
Three Boeing 737 aircraft operated by the Indonesian Air Force are used to transport troops in and out of West Papua. The above photograph was taken in February 2021 and show troops departing their home base for deployment to West Papua, where they are expected to gain 'conflict experience'.
The G28 is a semi automatic sniper rifle. Despite the Heckler and Koch ban on sales to conflict zones, including Indonesia, an article published in 2020 hails the G28 as the 'newest rifle' of Indonesia's special forces.
'Elite' soldier with an HK G28 in 2020
TNI training with HK G28
The DM11 tank ammunition is designed for use with the L44 smoothbore gun, which is used on the Leopard 2A4 tanks bought by Indonesia in 2012. Indonesian state-owned weapons factory PT Pindad manufactures Rheinmetall munitions under a license agreement negotiated in 2014.
Rheinmetall's sales pitch for DM11 tank ammunition says they designed these weapons
for engaging non-armoured and lightly armoured targets such as vehicles, antitank positions (whether dug-in or in the open), and field fortifications. Furthermore, thanks to its high precision and maximum effective range of up to five kilometres, it can be used for penetrating barriers and engaging targets taking cover behind walls, etc., as well as for breeching enemy defences and creating avenues of approach for friendly forces in built-up areas
A 'target taking cover' is a human being.
The Marder is a tracked infantry fighting vehicle, which has been manufactured since the 1970s. Rheinmetall announced Indonesia's purchase of 42 M1A3 infantry fighting vehicles in 2016, as part of a €216 million deal for tracked combat vehicles.
Kostrad driving Rheinmetall's Leopard tanks in 2020
Indonesia received the first eight of an order for 61 Leopard 2A4 from Rheinmetall in 201