Tolikara incident: Police accused of circulating provocative letter

Suara Papua – July 20, 2015
GIDI President Reverend Dorman Wandikmbo - Undated (suara-islam)
GIDI President Reverend Dorman Wandikmbo - Undated (suara-islam)

Oktovianus Pogau, Tolikara – The president of the Indonesian Evangelical Church (Gereja Injili di Indonesia, GIDI), Reverend Dorman Wandikmbo insists that the letter issued by the regional GIDI in the Tolikara highland district of Papua that has been circulating in the mass media and social networks is forgery or hoax.

“From the beginning I have explained that the letter being circulated by a certain group is a forgery, and the actors behind the circulation of the forged letter need to be found. Because on account of its leak in the social media is in fact stirring things up”, said Wandikmbo when contacted by Suara Papua on Monday July 20.

According to Wandikmbo, the GIDI central board must be advised of all letters that are issued by and are received in areas served by GIDI churches.

“My signature is not on the letter, nor is there the signature of the chairperson of the seminar organising committee and the KKR [Spiritual Awakening Service], so we can say that the letter is a forgery, and untrue, so because of this I am asking that people not be provoked”, he asserted.

Wandikmbo suspects that the source of the forged letter is the security forces, namely the Indonesian police (Polri), because it appears from the letter that it is addressed to the police.

“Please check with and ask the Tolikara chief of police and his officers, also ask the Papuan regional police, we were surprised at how only one hour after the incident the letter was already being circulated in the media, it is a manipulation by the security forces”, he asserted.

According to Wandikmbo the internet and cell phone network in Tolikara is very poor, so what surprised him is that the letter and the photographs could be circulated so quickly.

“We suspect there are people who planned this scenario, and in fact the letter is intended to legitimise and at the same time justify brutal actions by the TNI [Indonesian military] and Polri who shot 12 youths from the church, this approach cannot be justified”, he said.

When the media questioned a statement by the head of the Tolikara regional department of religion, Yusak Mauri, on the authenticity of the letter, Wandikmbo asked which letter Mauri had declared was authentic, because the regent and himself as the president of the GIDI had already given permission to the Muslim community to celebrate the Idul Fitri holidays at the end of the fasting month.

“The letter that we knew about contained an appeal not to use loudspeakers or megaphones during prayers because it could disturb the 2,000 or so youth taking part in the church activities and all parties were aware of this appeal”.

“For almost 30 years Islamic houses of prayer in Tolikara have always [been allowed to] use loudspeakers, only this time round did we forbade it because there were thousands of youths from churches outside of Tolikara, the local regent who is a leading GIDI church member has also provided assistance to the Muslim community”, said Wandikmbo.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Surat Edaran Ternyata Palsu, Presiden GIDI: Tangkap Pelaku Penyebaran!.]