The Police Shooting Season Over PDF Afdrukken

West Papua: The Police Shooting Season Over the New Year period makes major concern for upcoming Indonesian General Election

Reports of police violence in Timika, Wamena and Sorong are marked resurgence in Human Rights abuse by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua in the later part of 2008. Also reports of mysterious deaths in Manokwari, before the massive earthquake, suggest ‘black killings’ have occurred there over the Christmas/New Year period.

The reports of killings and ‘accidental’ deaths together with renewed activity by the notorious Red & White (Merah Putih) Militia in Wamena, the arrest of two West Papuan rights activists[1], Buchtar Tabuni and Seblom Sambon in December 08 and the suppression of the indigenous Papuan Kingmi Church[2] are signs of the relentless pattern of Indonesian repressive control and arbitrary violence in West Papua.

In Wamena a youth was reportedly ‘accidentally’ shot dead by Police in a dispute in a market involving another Papuan man, who had been accused of stealing. Later in the same day it is reported that the man accused of stealing, was then murdered in the street by a group of un-identified non-Papuans. In a separate incident the unmarked body of another Papuan man had been found in the river at Wamena on the previous day. Further information is detailed below for each case.

In Teminbuan, South Sorong Indonesian Police fired on a group of Papuans who were celebrating the New Year with firecrackers and sparklers. This caused one local man to die a horrific death. Local people responded to his murder by attacking and killing an Indonesian intelligence officer. Police then attacked again and fired at local people killing an 8 year-old boy and injuring others and then reportedly destroying houses and property.

While in Timika the special Para-military police, Brimob, are reported to have shot a local man at a gold mining camp on 30 December 2008. The dead body of another local man was taken to the Timika hospital on 1 January 2008 but was not identified.

In Manokwari, the site of recent massive earthquake, there are reports of two mysterious deaths during the Christmas period. The body of a Papuan man with serious wounds to his head was found on 25 December next to his undamaged motorcycle. The body of 75 year-old priest, was found in a ditch also with head injuries on 1 January 2009. Both deaths were suspected to be ‘black killings‘ used by Indonesian security forces.

Details of agitation by the notorious Red & White Militia in the highlands of West Papua were reported in December 2008. Local Militia leaders are reported to have traveled to Jakarta to attend a meeting at Indonesian Military headquarters in December and then went onto hold meetings in Golkar offices in Wamena. The Militia leaders are said to be planning a public launch of the Militia in Mulima, which is the site for staging traditional tribal warfare in the old days. Mulima is an area where some of the grossest human rights abuse in West Papua occurred during the Soeharto era.

Paula Makabory representing the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights said today, “The recent shootings and reemergence of the Red & White Militia has heightened our concerns that Indonesian politicians and security forces are seeking to further destabilization the situation and promote conflict in West Papua. “

“This Christmas in West Papua has been a shooting season for Indonesian police. The security forces are trying to encourage conflict: Even a small child of 8 years has been a political target.” Paula Makabory went onto say.

“By shooting people in West Papua the security forces encourage community based conflict and maintain the community opposition and distrust of Indonesia. The cycle of conflict with Indonesian authority, leading to state control and the poverty, disease epidemic and dispossession of the indigenous people is ongoing. Powerful people in Indonesia get political benefits from the conflict, the resource exploitation continues and the West Papuan people gain very little from Indonesian politics.”

“After the assassination of Opinus Tabuni[3][4] occurred in Wamena (10 August 2008) at the Dewan Adat Papua sponsored Indigenous Peoples Day celebration there was notably less police opposition to resultant demonstrations that occurred in Wamena and Jayapura. Though during this time a member of the Papuan Customary Council (Dewan Adat Papua) Yosias Syet was murdered by unidentified person on 17 October 2008 near village of Waibron close to Jayapura[5].”

“Pro-West Papuan Independence supporters then went onto undertake a series of demonstration in Jayapura around the assassination of Theys Eluay, the West Papua Pro-Independence leader who was killed by members of Kopassus Indonesia’s elite military force in 2001. Further demonstrations were held supporting the formation of the International Parliamentarian for West Papua in London which appear been the reason for the arrest of Buchtar Tabuni and Seblom Sambon.”

“Papuans in many centers then went onto raise the Nationalist ‘Morning Star’ flag on 1 December 2008 against a police ban and the real threat of arrest and imprisonment.”