February 8, 2023

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Mystery surrounds how munitions imported for Indonesia’s civilian spies were used in attacks on villages

2 min read

 – Almost 2,500 mortar shells from Serbia bought for Indonesia’s spy agency last year were converted to be air-dropped, and some were used in attacks on eight villages in Papua, according to a report from an arms monitoring group and photos provided to Reuters.

The alleged procurement for the state intelligence agency, known as BIN, was not disclosed to the parliamentary oversight committee that approves its budget, three members told Reuters.

The London-based monitoring group, Conflict Armament Research (CAR), said the mortar rounds were manufactured by Serbia’s state-owned arms-maker Krusik and later modified to be dropped from the air rather than fired from a mortar tube. It said the arms sent to BIN also included 3,000 electronic initiators and three timing devices typically used to detonate explosives.

The 81mm mortar rounds were used in attacks in October on villages in Papua, an Indonesian province where a decades-long campaign by armed separatists has accelerated in recent years, according to CAR, an eyewitness, and human rights investigators working on behalf of several church groups.

Reuters was not able to independently confirm certain aspects of the CAR report, including whether BIN had received the shipment. Reuters also could not establish who authorized the purchase of the munitions or who used them in Papua.

BIN and the Ministry of Defense did not respond to requests for comment about the purchase or use of the mortar shells.

The parliamentary oversight committee is holding a closed hearing next week with BIN, and the weapons purchase will be discussed, one committee member said.

Tubagus Hasanuddin, a former general who also sits on the parliamentary committee that oversees BIN, said that the intelligence agency can acquire small arms for its agents’ self defense but that any military-grade weapons “must be for education or training purposes and not for combat”.

“We need to conduct a hearing first…

Jino Nicolas

2022-06-02 23:47:31

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