Why West Papua Army and NOT TPNPB OPM or TPN/OPM ?

Gen. WPRA Amunggut Tabi (WPRA) from the Centreal Defence Headquarters of West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) explains simple version of the resion “Why West Papua Army and NOT the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) of Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) hereby called TPNPB – OPM?

Papua Merdeka News (PMNews)  asked Gen. Tabi regarding the dispute between the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) with West Papua Army (WPA) and TPNPB-OPM under the leadership of Jefry Bomanak Pagaawak (OPM) and Sebby Sambom (TPNPB)l.


General WPRA Tabi says, the first problem is to do with the name TPNPB. There have been so far three groups using the same name, TPNPB with three variations of TPN.PB-OPM (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional Papua Barat – Organisasi Papua Merdeka), TPN-PB (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional Papua Barat), and DM-TPNPB (Dewan Militer Tentara Pembebasan Nasional).

The first TPN-PB – OPM was set up by Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB) in Biak in 2012. This TPNPB then formed affiliation with Jefry Bomanak Pagawak who has been based in Scotiau, Vanimo, Port Moresby, Kiunga and Mount Hagen.

Another TPNPB is also called TNPB, short name for “Tentara Nasional Papua Barat“. This TNPB has been called TPN as well under the command of H. R. Joweni until the formation of WPNCL on 20 December 2005 when Joweni was elected as the Chair of the WPNCL.

The Military Council of the West Papua National Liberation Army (DM-TPNPB) is chaired by Nikolas Ipo Hau and Gen. TPN Abumbakarak Omawi Wenda as the Supreme Commander.

Among these, there is West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA), which is called Tentara Revolusi West Papua (TRWP) with Gen. WPRA Mathias Wenda as the Commander in Chief. The WPRA was formed as a result of TPN/OPM Summit that was held after being endorsed by all military commanders in the jungles in 2005-2006 and held in Vanimo, in which WPRA was officially separated from the political organisation called OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka).

WPRA anticipated that a political grouping will be happening in the near future, most probably OPM with new leadership and organisation.

WPRA separated itself from OPM in order to help OPM as a political organisation to function properly as modern political organisation for West Papua Independence. It took very long time to separate between military wing and political organisation of Free West Papua Movement. Indonesia has been using this unclear naming and concept to brand the movement as separatist, trouble makers, and finally terrorists.

The name TPN/OPM (TPN slash OPM) has been very commonly used among West Papua independence fighters, making it complicated for Papuans ourselves to see who we are: “politicians” or “military fighters”. The rhetoric, the way of thinking, the concepts of the independence movement, as well as the naming of all have been mixed and misrepresented and misunderstood both by Papuans ourselves and more by the international community.

WPRA separation from OPM gave path to all other groups within West Papua independence movement to call themselves NOT TPN/OPM anymore, but it became DM-TPNPB, TPNPB and TPN-PB, or TPN.PB.


The story of TPN/OPM, TPNPB and WPRA is one side of the coin. The other side is the story of West Papua National Authority (WPNA), West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and the NRFPB (Negara Republik Federal Papua Barat – The Federal Republic of West Papua) under the leadership of Waromi – Yaboisembut.

OPM and TPNPB belongs to the TPN/OPM group, commonly called the One-Star Group (Kelompok Bintang Satu). The other party is called the 14-Stars Group (Kelompok Bintang Empatbelas), who totally have nothing to do with the OPM, but have some things to do with TPN under the leadership of H.R. Joweni, who then became the chair of WPNCL.

We all know when WPNCL applied for MSG membership, the MSG leaders asked West Papuan independence fighters to re-apply with all-inclusive organisations, primarily because the NRFPB was not inside the WPNCL.

Why WPNCL was not regarded as fully representing West Papuans or West Papua?

Only one possible answer: One-Star Group only applying for membership, the 14-Stars Group was not included.

Now, why West Papua Army, and NOT TPNPB?

West Papua Army (WPA) is the name as a result of political lobbies and calculations. It was formed as step to get out from the “One Star – Fourthen Star Groups Stigmatization“. We all want to be free from Indonesian colonialism, therefore we need to unite politicaly and militarily.

Therefore, ULMWP is not undermining or forgeting the OPM, and WPA is not getting rid of the TPNPB, but we are progressing from one chapter to the next one, from one page to the next one, towards our goal: Free and Independent Republic of West Papua.

So, all TPN/OPM, TPNPB, TPNPB-OPM, DM-TPNPB, WPRA, WPNCL, we are all from the “One -Star Group”. We are now joining with the “Fourteen Star Group”, called NRFPB and TNPB (Tentara Nasional Papua Barat – Wet Papua National Army).

[to be continued…]

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