GIDI president slams police for scapegoating OPM over Tolikara shooting

Suara Papua – July 30, 2015
Smoke from prayer room fire in Tolikara - July 17, 2015 (Suara Islam)
Smoke from prayer room fire in Tolikara - July 17, 2015 (Suara Islam)

Oktovianus Pogau, Jayapura – The president of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI), Pastor Dorman Wandikmbo insists that the mushola (small mosque) that was burnt down recently in Karubaga district, Tolikara regency, Papua, was built on land owned by the GIDI.

“Thirty years ago the GIDI assigned that land for the construction of a mushola, so the land was not purchased by Muslim residents, it doesn’t even have a building permit (IMB), we just lent it to them to build the mushola”, Wandikmbo told Suara Papua (Voice of Papua) on Wednesday July 29.

According to Wandikmbo, it you want to talk about tolerance between religious communities in Indonesia, the Christian community in the central highlands region of Papua, including Tolikara, is extremely tolerant.

“The recent incident in which the shops were razed [and the fire] spread and burnt down the mushola was simply because of a poor communication, all of us deeply regret the incident, and we have now made peace and returned to living alongside each other”, said Wandikmbo.

Wandikmbo said he also regrets the actions of the Papua regional police  (Polda) who hastily declared two people suspects for burning down the shops while the perpetrators of the shooting of 12 GIDI youths hasn’t even been investigated.

“The police shouldn’t play around arbitrarily naming suspects, how come only GIDI youths that have been named suspects, and how about the perpetrators of the shooting of 12 GIDI youths, not to mention that one of them died”, he said.

According to Wandikmbo, the Papua regional police will soon be summoning him along with the local activities committee. What is of concern that this will in fact have a detrimental impact on the communities at the grass roots level.

“Ustadz [Islamic cleric] Ali Muktar in Karubaga, and the GIDI coordinator for the Tolikara district Pastor Nayus Wenda have already reconciled, and want to live in peace, don’t let the [police] summons and the [arbitrary] naming of suspect destroy the peace that has been built”, he asserted.

In relation to the shooting of 12 GIDI youths, according to Wandikmbo when the incident occurred only the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Polri (Indonesian police) had firearms, so it is doubtful that the shooting was carried out by anyone else.

“There’s no OPM [Free Papua Movement armed separatists] in Tolikara, don’t scapegoat the OPM, everyone in the community saw who the perpetrators were, TNI and Polri personnel, so do they now have the courage or not to be held liable for this action”, asserted Wandikmbo.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Musalah di Tolikara Dibangun Diatas Tanah GIDI dan Tak Memiliki IMB.]