West Papua Revolutionary Army (henceforth WPRA) is the military organisation of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM – Free Papua Movement) campaigning for a free and independent West Papua since 1963, against the colonialism of any kinds and forms.
The WPRA was previously known as TPN (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional – National Liberation Army). This change is due to various reasons, primarily in order to clearly separate the military and political organisations in our campaigns for West Papua independence as so far the military wing TPN and political wing OPM has been regarded the same or similar and their names have been used interchangeably, a scenario set up by the colonial power in order to ciminalise our organisation and movement for freedom.
The military wing of the OPM has faced at least three organisational restructuring, however, the previous restructuring happened due to personal conflicts of interests between our top leaders in the OPM structure that caused the establishment of Pemka (Pembela Kebenaran 0f Defender of the Truth) block under Jacob Hendrik Prai leadership and Victoria block under the command of Seth Jafeth Roemkorem command.
The second restructuring process happened during Gen. Wenda’s command but this was stopped in the mid-way after the murder of the Secretary-General of West Papua Revolutionary Army, Laurentz Dloga by his own troops, after blaming him affiliating with the communist block rather than the western block. The Dloga murder squad was properly organised by Pemka fighters.
Laurentz Dloga was actually trying to build path towards separating the military and political organisations, however, the enemy’s intelligence operations played a role in his killing. During this period, Gen. Hans Bomay, who was later short dead by the Indonesian army was working closely with the Indonesian regional command. They both met the President and minister of defence at that time and provided Bomay with foods and other supplies. They promoted dialogue between Indonesia and the OPM and even Bomay forced Gen. Wenda at gunpoint to agree with the “dialogue” proposal.
At the same time, the Late Laurentz Dloga and the Late Iambeki Okuk, a leading political figure in Papua New Guinea (East New Guinea) at that time were both actively involved in preparing West Papua independence after separating the military and political wing of the independence movement organisation. However, both Okuk and Dloga were killed, suspected by western agents in order to clam down the independence movement.
The third major restructuring of the OPM and its military wing happened in 1986, after the return of Special Messenger of Gen. Mathias Wenda, Leut.Gen. Amunggut Tabi to the TPN/OPM headquarters at BlackWara Refugee Camp, Vanimo, Papua New Guinea.
The restructuring at this time did not only separate the military organisation from the political one, but also change the name Tentara Pembebasan Nasional (TPN) into WPRA (West Papua Revolutionary Army), following up what Okuk and Dloga had initiated some tens of years before.
This last restructuring is also facing various challenges from various parties.
The first challenge is coming from the Indonesian colonial power. They have been framing TPN/OPM to be soon branded as a terrorist organisation, therefore, they insist and even fund West Papuan fighters to fight against the policy of their own Supreme Commander.
The second challenge is coming from various organisations campaigning for West Papua independence. There have been various conferences and summits held in the name of TPN/OPM, and there have been some organisational restructuring within our organisations. Gen. Wenda has been excluded from all these processes, and therefore, he called an emergency meeting among his high-ranking officials and announced his order for the restructuring of the OPM and TPN.
For the first time in our history, a military organisation has a Secretariat-General in order to assist General Wenda in his policy separating OPM from the military wing. The Secretariat-General is preparing all necessary steps towards the establishment of the OPM Central Headquarters. The Secretariat-General of the WPRA will end its office and duties once the OPM headquarters and functionaries are officially made public.