Jakarta protest urges independent investigation into Papua violence

Sinar Harapan – June 15, 2012
Victims of mysterious shootings in Jayapura - June 10, 2012 (Tribune)
Victims of mysterious shootings in Jayapura - June 10, 2012 (Tribune)

Yuliana Lantipo, Jakarta – Humanitarian Solidarity for Papua (Skup) is urging the central government to form an independent fact finding team to conduct a fast and effective investigation to uncover the truth and who is behind the recent violence in West Papua.

Since June at least nine people have been killed and five wounded as a result of mysterious shootings. This was conveyed by Skup action coordinator Alves Fonataba shortly after the group held a demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Wednesday June 13.

According to Skup’s records, aside from those committed by the military and police, shootings have also been carried out by unknown persons (orang tidak kenal, OTK). “According to our records, OTK have carried out shootings on 18 occasions that have killed nine civilians and wounded 25 people over the period between January and June 2012”, said Fonataba.

This includes the shooting of Tri Sasono, from Ngawi in East Java, who worked as a security officer at the Saga Abe Supermarket. The victim was shot while riding a motorbike with the license plate DS3816AE on the grounds of the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training in the area of the Cenderawasih University in Abepura, Jayapura, on June 10. The other victims were Golberth Febrian Madika, Arwam Kusdini, Iqbl Rivai and Hardi Jayanto.

Victims that have died as a result of military and police actions include Yosias Tabuni who was shot by Jayapura police on Jl. Sam Ratulangi Dok V Yapis Jayapura on June 7, Melianus Kegepe on May 15 and Yesa Mirin on June 4. Scores of others have also been wounded.

Fonataba also protested a statement by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that the violence in Papua was still on a small scale, despite the many people that have fallen victim to the violence.

Women’s activist Zely Ariane from the group Free Women (Perempuan Mahardika) said the problem in Papua is the continued increase in troop numbers. “The problem in Papua is a problem for all of the people of the Republic of Indonesia”, she said.

Cannot be allowed

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said the police had shot an individual suspected of being one of the leaders of those that perpetrated the recent spate of violence in Papua. The police’s actions triggered anger among his colleagues who then set fire to a motorbike, car and three houses in Wamena.

“During the arrest he attempted to resist because the person concerned also tried to seize a weapon”, said Suyanto in Jakarta on Thursday. Police, said Suyanto, thus disabled him. Moreover the person was carrying a revolver with 18 rounds.

Because they objected to their friend being arrested by police, a number of people tried to attack and set fire to motor vehicles and houses. According to Suyanto, the perpetrators were from the same group that committed the acts of violence against a foreign national, members of the TNI (Indonesian military), police, a state civil servant and a security guard, which took place recently in different parts of Papua and West Papua.

Earlier police arrested three people suspected of being the perpetrators of several acts of violence. Police are seeking information about the involvement of others from the four (sic). It was during this arrest attempt that police were forced to cripple a person suspected of being one of the perpetrators.

Suyanto denied that the state is intentionally allowing violence to occur in Papua. The arrest of the alleged perpetrators, he said, proves that the state is not remaining silent.

Police are currently looking into the perpetrator’s motives. “This is currently being looked into. Usually the police start from the criminal act. Is there another motive, this cannot be conveyed to the public until we know for sure”, he said.

National police chief Timur Pradopo explained the incident involving the shooting of Mako Tabuni at 9am local time. The arrest was made by a joint team of officers from the national police headquarters and the Papuan regional police. When conducting the raid there was a dialogue, however two weapons belonging to members of the police were seized. “Other members provided protection because [Tabuni] was threatening [them] so he was disabled”, he explained.

According to Pradopo, from the results of an investigation into the spate of violent incidence between May 29 and June 10, the police have obtained the name of a person with the initials M.T. When arrested it was M.T. that tried to resist so he had to be disabled. (Vidi Batlolone)

[Penembak Misterius Sudah Tewaskan 9 Orang – Sinar Harapan. Jumat, 15 Juni 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]