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Violence worsens in Papua

Publication Date : 08-06-2012


Two civilians were killed in separate incidents in Papua in separate incidents in the past two days involving Indonesian Military (TNI) members and police officers in Papua as security in the nation’s easternmost province continue to deteriorate.

Hundreds of soldiers from the Indonesian Army’s Yonif 756/Wamena battalion stormed the streets of Wamena on Wednesday, enraged over the death of First Pvt. Ahmad Sahlan, who was killed by a crowd in Honai Lama village.

The situation in the city was tense as the soldiers ran amok, setting fires, vandalising houses and firing their weapons. One civilian was reported dead in the mayhem.

"His name is Elianus Yoman. He apparently died from gunshots,” Papua Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw told reporters in Jayapura on Thursday.

Seven others were injured and seven houses, four motorcycles and one car were set afire, according to reports.

"The city is restoring order. The police are patrolling and appealing to the citizens to remain calm,”
Paulus said.

One mother, however, said she immediately took her child home from school, having heard that there might be further reprisals.

“I picked my child because it is rumored there will be another attack,” she said.

In the second incident, Teyu Tabuni, 19, was shot dead by police officers in Jayapura on Thursday at 8 a.m.

Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare said that Teyu had been drinking alcohol with friends and was allegedly shaking down passersby and nearby kiosks for money.

Alfred said that Teyu and his friends resisted the police officers sent to disburse them.

As officers moved to arrest the men, they fled, prompting the police officers to fire warning shots, once of which hit Teyu in the head. He later died in the hospital.

Alfred said that the police officer who shot Teyu was interrogated by investigators after the shooting.

Alfred’s account of the shooting was rejected by Teyu’s mother, Opina Wenda, who said that her son had not been intoxicated when the police arrived on Thursday.

Opina alleged that the police officers who arrived on the scene were themselves drunk.

The incidents come following a wave of unsolved shootings targeting both law enforcement officers, TNI troops, state officials and civilians.

On Wednesday, Arwan, a civil servant and part-time motorcycle taxi  driver, was shot and taken to a hospital in Jayapura for treatment.

The deteriorating security situation prompted the Papua Police to detain Buchtar Tabuni, the head of the National Committee for West Papua, yesterday.

Buchtar Tabuni was reportedly taken into custody in Abepura as he got off a bus with two colleagues. He was indicted for allegedly instigating a protest in May that left two people dead.

In Jakarta, a human rights watchdog said that politics were behind the spate of violence in Papua.

"In all the shootings, the perpetrators did not take the victim’s belongings, such as their money or valuables goods,” Poengky Indarti, the executive director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

Poengky said that most of the victims were shot in vital spots, such as the head or neck, indicating that their assailants were trained marksmen and not run-of-the-mill criminals.

According to Imparsial, there have been eight deadly incidents in Papua in June — seven unsolved shootings, an assault and two stabbings — and a total of 24 violent incidents in Papua, since January.

Lawmakers on House of Representatives Commission I overseeing information announced that they would meet with several parties during a two-day working visit to Papua.

Commission chairman Mahfudz Siddiq told reporters that he would lead 11 lawmakers to Papua to discuss a dialogue for peace with different groups.

“There’s nothing we can do to resolve the ongoing conflict in Papua without dialogue,” he said.

Police/TNI violence against civilians

Dec. 3, 2010
Miron Wetibo is shot dead during a security operation as the Jayapura Police and the Wira Yakti Military Command chase the perpetrators of a shooting in Abepura.

January 2011
Three soldiers allegedly torture two Papuans accused of being members of the Free Papuan Movement.The soldiers are later sentenced to 8 to 10 months in jail.

April 13, 2011
One person is killed as residents and police clash in Moenamani village in Nabire.

Oct. 10, 2011
Freeport Indonesia worker Petrus Ayamiseba is shot dead when police fire warning shots to stop protesting workers from entering the Gorong-Gorong bus terminal in Timika

Oct. 22, 2011
Six people die after the police and military use force to disperse the Third Papuan People’s Congress.

June 6, 2012
A civilian is found dead after soldiers run amok in Wamena following the death of a comrade.

June 7, 2012
Police warning shot kills a man in Jayapura as officers try to arrest a group of intoxicated youths for causing a nuisance.

— With reports from Margareth S. Aritonang


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