Minister Mahfud MD Respond to Calls for Papua Governor’s Release

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD shrugged off the Tweet from Benny Wenda – leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) – who called for the release of Papua governor Lukas Enembe. Lukas was arrested for corruption charges and flown to Jakarta to be investigated last Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

    The Papua liberation figure claimed that the governor’s livelihood is in grave danger and he requires health treatment.

    ‘We don’t pay attention at Benny Wenda. Whatever he says is up to him,” said Mahfud MD at the State Palace on Friday, January 13, 2023. “[Enembe’s arrest] is already in accordance with the law. We got criticized as if we are afraid of Lukas Enembe and his gang,” he added.

    Enembe is believed to be involved in a number of graft cases involving multiple construction projects in Papua. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) eventually made an arrest against the governor after receiving a tip that the Democratic Party politician intends to flee overseas. 

    The Papua governor failed to appear in two KPK summons prior to his arrest. As he arrived in Jakarta, Lukas was admitted to the RSPAD Army Hospital in Jakarta as a suspect. 

    Moreover, Mahfud MD said Lukas Enembe had hundreds of supporters – which initially hindered his arrest – but was eventually arrested in a restaurant in Papua. Following his arrest, the situation in the region is claimed to be under control.

    “Everyone, every local figure, traditional community leaders, [agreed] that the law must be upheld,” said Mahfud. 

    However, Mahfud said that authorities would not investigate the alleged relationship between Lukas Enembe and Benny Wenda, following Benny’s public request on Twitter.

    “No. That is a political matter, it is not a matter of corruption. It has nothing to do with Benny Wenda. Separatist affairs are another matter,” Mahfud said.


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