Laskar Merah Putih (Indonesia)

Country: Indonesia
Details of Formation: The group was established by former leader of Aitarak (Eurico Guterres) in Timor in 2003 to fight secessionists first in West Papua and then in Aceh. It was apparently supported by the military and appears to be a militia offshoot of the Front of Red and White Defenders, a nationalist group, but not a PGM. (There is another group with this name between 2000 and 2002 and after 2009 that organized nationalist protests against Malaysian Embassy. This group is not a PGM and the group coded here is explicitly stated in the sources to have been established in 2003.)
Details of Termination: The last activity of Laskar Merah Putih was reported in 2005. The group’s leader is imprisoned in 2006 for his activities in East Timor. There is no more evidence for the group.
Purpose: The group was used for anti-separatist actions using violence and intimidation in the aftermath of the Papuan referendum. Papuans who were not in favour of splitting their province were thus targeted. One goal was also to destabilize Papua. In addition, the PGM acted against Aceh independence and Acehnese civilians were supposed to be intimidated by the group.
Organisation: The group was secretly backed by the government or the military and a former leader stated it was registered with the government. It was linked to Aitarak via that group’s former leader Eurico Guterres who formed this PGM.
Weapons and Training: --
Size: At its formation the group had 200 members. Later in 2003, the militia claimed it had 18,000 members. In 2005 there were 900 reported members in Aceh and it claimed to draw on 15,000 members across all of Indonesia.
Reason for Membership: Looting may have posed a material incentive to join the group. It consists of refugees and recruited non-Papuan migrants with the goal to fight separatists.
Treatment of Civilians: The group attacked and intimidated Papuan and Acehnese civilians. Civilians were killed by the militia in Papua after the independence vote and it was responsible for looting. The PGM contributed to the risk of destabilization of Papua and an escalation of violence.
Other Information: Even though the group claims to have up to 18,000 members the real number is apparently much smaller. Its name translates to “Red and White Warriors”.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.

Wikipedia. “Eurico Guterres.“