Indonesia. The unrest in the eastern part of Papua
continued; for example, eight Indonesian soldiers were
killed in February in two different assaults by armed
resistance men. The first attack was directed against a
post-guard in the Puncak Jaya area. According to
Countryaah, a soldier was killed at
that time. The other seven soldiers lost their lives when
they were attacked on their way to an airstrip in an
adjacent area. Following the attack, President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono said he asked the military to act with
restraint and that it would respect the requirements of
legal security. Yudhoyono further said that economic and
social development is the path to peace in Papua.
In the governor elections in Papua the same month, the
candidates supported by Yudhoyono's ruling Democratic Party
(DP) won. There were reports of screenings along the border
between Indonesian Papua and neighboring Papua New Guinea
during the year. The exchange took place between Papuan
separatists and the Indonesian army.
Later in the year, in May, information came out that two
protesters were shot dead by police in connection with
Papuan separatists marking the 50th anniversary of the
area's transition from the Dutch colony to become part of
Indonesia. The same month, Australian radio ABC reported
that the Indonesian terrorist force Densus 88 has killed at
least eleven members of the separatist guerrilla OPM
(Organization of a Free Papua) in the central parts of
In February, the Indonesian Corruption Commission (KPK)
announced that Anas Urbaningrum, chairman of the ruling DP,
was suspected of involvement in a case of corruption.
Urbaningrum, which was banned from leaving the country while
the investigation was underway, was accused of receiving
"gifts" in connection with the construction of a sports
arena in the city of Bogor in western Java. In December of
the previous year, a DP minister, Andi Mallarangeng,
resigned after being identified as a corruption suspect in
the same bribery shop.
Following KPK's announcement of bout suspicions against
the party chairman, President Yudhoyono announced that he
himself assumed the chairmanship of the DP in order to calm
down the situation in the party ahead of the 2014 elections.
On March 14, the first execution was executed in the
country since 2008. The man who was executed was sentenced
in 2004 to the death of drug smuggling. In Indonesia, more
than 140 people are sentenced to death, but executions are
In April, Indonesia eased some of its import restrictions
after the United States complained to the World Trade
Organization that Indonesia did not comply with rules agreed
by the WTO countries.
During the spring, unrest in Aceh on north Sumatra
increased as provincial authorities chose the former GAM
guerrilla banner as the official flag of the province.
National authorities demanded that the province choose a
less provocative flag. Protests both for and against the
flag election were held in Aceh, where the separatist
guerrilla GAM (the Movement for a Free Aceh) fought a
struggle for independence from 1976 to 2005.
A tunnel at the disputed gold and copper mine Grasberg in
Papua collapsed in May, and 38 miners were shut down. While
ten of them could be rescued, the remaining 28. President
Yudhoyono ordered an investigation into why the tunnel was
collapsed and increased security checks at other mines.
About 24,000 people are employed by Grasberg, which is
operated by the American company Freeport McMoRan. The mine
was reopened in May - June, among other things since
employees protested against labor shortages.
Violent demonstrations erupted in the capital of Jakarta
in June after Parliament's decision to cut the costly
subsidies on fuel. The decision meant price increases for
gasoline by 44% and for diesel by 22%. The subsidies were
cut because the government's budget deficit appeared to be
too large, which was feared to deter foreign investors. The
measure was combined with special contributions to poor
families. No deaths or serious injuries were reported from
That same month, President Yudhoyono officially
apologized to Singapore and Malaysia for causing major
forest fires in the province of Riau on Sumatra to cause
serious and health-threatening smog over the two neighboring
countries. Smogen, which emerged when rainforest was
destroyed to give way to oil palm cultivation, was so thick
that emergency permits were introduced in parts of Singapore
and Malaysia. Riau's governor was later arrested on
suspicion of bribery in connection with the procurement of
contracts with the forest companies.
Since Australia was given a new prime minister, Kevin
Rudd, he chose to emphasize the importance of good relations
with Indonesia by visiting the neighboring country in July.
At a meeting in Bogor on Java, Rudd and President Yudhoyono
decided to work together to curb the flow of refugees from
South Asia and Afghanistan via Indonesia to Australia.
Relations between the two countries, however, became a
real thorn when at the end of the year revelations revealed
that Australia had spied on Yudhoyono and his wife as well
as a number of other high-ranking Indonesians. As a result,
Indonesia set up a series of collaborations, including on
refugee policy, with the neighboring country in the south.
In September, the old colonial power officially
apologized to the Netherlands for Indonesia for arbitrary
executions and other abuses committed by the Dutch army
during the Indonesian Liberation War of the 1940s. The
Netherlands pledged financial damages to the women who lost
their spouses in this way. The excuse was made through the
Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta.
Indonesia was hit in October by yet another high-level
corruption scandal when the Constitutional Court chairman,
Akil Mochtar, was arrested on suspicion of bribery. The
judge must have promised money to resolve a conflict that
arose after a local election on Borneo.