Jayapura, Jubi – A rally to protest racism against West Papuans in front of the Deiyai Regent Office on Wednesday, 28 August 2019, turned to a tragedy. A local parliament member Alfret Pakage told Jubi about the tragic story.
The story began when a young man called Yustimus Takimas died in a car crash involving an Indonesian soldier. His death triggered a mass rampage that ended with the police’s gunshot.
“I don’t have an idea about what was happening at the Regent Office’s backyard because I was standing at the side door watching people coming. After the car accident that killed young Takimai, people killed a soldier who was in the car. Then, all young men joined the crowd. Some entered through the front while others from the back via BKD Office. At that time the joint security force stood at the corner of the Regent Office. I was there too facing the BKD Office,” Pakage told Jubi by phone on Wednesday, (11/9/2019).
Furthermore, he said the mob threw stones to the soldiers, and they responded it with tear gas shots. However, when they found out a soldier killed, they threw bullets against the crowd. “I told the Crime and Investigation Department Chief of Paniai Police to hold. It happened when they (security force) knew a soldier died. They shot their guns to the people,” he said.
Then, the Military District Commandant immediately came out of his office located across the street in front of the Regent Office. “He shouted ‘my soldier is dead. Where’s the Regent? He must be responsible for this. The soldiers took their gun out. Brimob personnel were also there,” he said.
Pakage was alone at the scene, while the regent, deputy regent, local parliament members and all government officials already left their office. The police step on the body of the dead victim lying under the flagpole at the office’s front yard.
“I shouted at them to stop.” While he was confused about how to stop it, he also could not do anything because he was alone and under gun threat.
“I saw people died lying under the flagpole. It’s just me. I was alone. When the soldiers found out that people taken away their guns, they prevented me from being a mediator. They even pointed their guns against me and said ‘you want to back up or not? If not, you’ll be responsible for this’. After that, I backed up. But I still told them not be overwhelming,” he said.
Furthermore, according to Pakage, he moved to a kiosk opposite the Regent Office to join some police officers of Mee origin. It was only 17:12 but already so quiet, and nobody dared to pass. He then saw the ambulance from Deiyai Public Hospital going to the scene.
“I saw the ambulance coming from Deiyai Public Hospital to collect West Papuans who injured and fell because of the shooting. But the police came to block the car, pulled out the victims and took the ambulance’s key. They put their injured friends (soldiers), sent both driver and medical workers home. Then ambulance went to Paniai and left the injured West Papuans,” he said.
It was getting late, so he hurried to go home. He reminded himself that he must keep safe from the danger. Of returning home, he observed that Waghete became so quiet. Only found the security forces standing along the street from the Regent Office to Waghete II until the airport compound.
On the next day, Thursday (29/8/2019), he returned to the scene to check whether the dead bodies are still there or taken to the hospital.
“I only saw the soldiers standing along the street. I didn’t meet any residents. First of all, I checked the Deiyai Public Hospital, but the gate was locked and no activities there. I came inside knocking the door but no one there. So, I went to the scene to check whether the victims are still there or not. So I parked my vehicle at the entrance of the Regent’s office. Suddenly, the joint security force came investigating me with anger.
“They asked, ‘where are our guns?’ I told them I am also a part of this country. Those weapons are the state’s tools; I try to find those losing guns. However, the victims were not there anymore. So I went to Damabagata, Tigi Timur sub-district because I heard from someone that they keep the weapons there. At that time, the Military District Commandant was well-equipped guarding at the intersection of Waghete, Dogiyai and Paniai,” he said.
He continued the story by saying that the Paniai Police then asked him to come to their office as a witness. “At that time, the police acted without thinking. It was a big mistake. They examined me as a witness at the regency police station,” he said.
Meanwhile, Father Santon Tekege Pr said the investigation of the Secretariat of Peace and Justice (SKP) of Paniai Dean – Timika Diocese concludes that a car accident involving a soldier that caused the death of Yustinus Takimai triggered this shooting incident.
“As a result of the gunfire and tear gas shots, seven civilians were dead, while 43 people injured with both minor and serious injuries,” said Father Santon. (*)
Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Discrimination handling refugees hurts Papuans
Jayapura, Jubi – The way government handling the humanitarian conflict in Papua has become a spotlight. Many people think the government are being discriminative in handling Nduga refugees compared to refugees from Wamena.
A native Ndugama Resina Lokbere said that she is discouraged seeing how the government differently treated refugees from both areas. “I see a huge difference approach here. Although the government always declare our national motto ‘unity in diversity’, but I have not seen this applied in Papua. A conflict in Nduga has occurred since 1 December 2018. Since then, Nduga residents must leave their villages and flee to other regions and the jungle to avoid a military operation,” she said.
Moreover, she said if the government are a concern in settling the humanitarian conflict in Papua, they should treat people fairly. The government should treat people equally, regardless of indigenous Papuans or non-Papuans.
“Thousands of youth and children drop out of school, and now they are living under poor health condition. There is economic loses as well. Who knows whether they will be survived or dead after a few months of suffering without enough food and water? I don’t know. Only God is the witness of their suffering,” said Resina whose relatives refuge from Nduga.
In her view, the way the government handling the issue of refugees can create a barrier in society. She thinks the government has indirectly built a wall between one community to others.
“The government should not perceive conflicts in Nduga and Wamena merely from a political view but also a humanitarian aspect. They are all your people. They need you. They need your action, not your promises on the public stage,” she said.
Meanwhile, a local parliament member Laurenzus Kadepa also think the government has shown different response in handling refugees due to conflicts occurred in Nduga and Wamena.
According to him, he observed that the victims of conflict in Wamena were promptly evacuated or accommodated with adequate facilities. They had enough food and other basic needs during the evacuation. It was opposite to what had happened to Nduga residents. They had to walk for days from their villages to Wamena and other regions.
“While there was a lack of access to food aid distribution for Nduga residents, it didn’t happen for Wamena refugees. They had planes to transport them, shelter and enough food,” he said.
Seeing what has been happening lately in Papua, the relevant stakeholders in Papua and the central government should immediately think a solution to end this current complicated situation. (*)
Reporter: Agus Pabika
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Five bodies discovered in Mbua, allegedly shot by military culprits
Jayapura, Jubi – Residents and activists from Pegunungan Tengah Human Rights Defender Networks (JapHAM) discovered five bodies on Thursday (10/20/2019) in Iniye Village, Mbua Sub-district, Nduga Regency. The bodies are suspected of the shooting victims of military culprits and covered by grass and leaves before being buried in one hole.
Nduga youth leader Samuel Tabuni, who is also a relative of the victims, said the victims left Wamena on 20 September for picking food supplies by car. They went together with a group of young men. Some group members then separated for taking food to their villages. Meanwhile, the victims took their supplies to Gua Batu, Gunung Kanbobo because they lived far away and decided to stay in Iniye Village.
“The next day on 21 September, the five victims went to take the food they stored at Gua Batu. Another group followed them later, but while they were walking, they heard gunfire. They were scared and decided not to continue to their walk to Gua Batu. They walked back to Ineye and called me,” Samuel Tabuni told on Thursday (10/10/2019).
However, after the call, he wasn’t sure about what had happened in Ineye. So he asked the police for further investigation. But the police said there was no report of the shooting incident in Mbua.
“The victims are my relatives, so I must continue to find the truth. After twenty days, it finally reveals that allegedly military culprits have shotted these five people,” said Samuel Tabuni.
He said a resident who called him witnessed military personnel at around Gua Batu.
The five bodies later identified as Mrs Yuliana Dorggi (35), Mrs Jelince Bugi (25), Mrs Macen Kusumbrue (26), Tolop Bugi (13) and Hardius Bugi (15).
“Local people and JapHAM Pegunung Tengah led by Theo Hesegem discovered their bodies,” said Samuel Tabuni.
Meanwhile, Kodam (regional military command) XVII/Cenderawasih admitted to Jubi that they have not yet received any information regarding the shooting incident in Iniye Village.
“We have not received an official report from the local unit,” said Colonel Eko Daryanto, Kodam spokesperson, to Jubi via WhatsApp.
Since a military conflict occurred in Nduga in the early of December last year, 189 residents are reportedly dead because of starvation in a refugee camp or shot by the military and police. Following the incident, thousands of Nduga residents have fled, and 39 churches have vacated.
Currently, according to Samuel Tabuni, Nduga residents demand the government to withdraw the joint military and police troops from Nduga. Furthermore, Nduga urgently needs humanitarian aid to supply food, medicine and support from the international humanitarian organisation to conduct an independent investigation on human rights violations in Nduga.
Meanwhile, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe hope Nduga refugees are not treated differently with refugees from another conflict in Wamena.
“Nduga residents are also the Indonesian citizens who should be treated equally as other residents,” said Governor Enembe.
Further, he said the case of Nduga refugee is an extraordinary case related to a humanitarian issue.
Therefore, he said he already communicated with the regents of Jayawijaya and Lanny Jaya because most of Nduga refugees are currently staying in these two regencies. He asked the regents from both regencies to treat Nduga refugees well because they are also Papuan citizens who need the attention of the government. (*)
Reporter: Victor Mambor
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Conducive, school activities resume in Wamena
Wamena, Jubi – Following the unrest on 23 November 2019, most schools closed down their activities. Schools activities just resume on Monday, 7 October 2019 despite less attendance of teachers and students.
The Secretary of Jayawijaya Education Office Bambang Budiandoyo said at least ten schools which are directly impacted by the riots: four primary schools, three secondary schools and three high schools, have students’ participation of ten to twenty percent.
“At the first day of school, we focus more on recovering trauma among teachers and students, no learning activities yet,” he said on Monday (7/10) in Wamena.
The Jayawijaya Education Office remarks there are 25 of 61 schools of a range of degrees from pre to high schools reported the impact of riots toward their schools.
“The twenty-five schools already filed report on schools’ damages. Their reports have been forwarded to the regent via the Public Works Office (PUPR). They hope the government can immediately respond it for repairs,” said Bambang.
Now, in the sixth day after the riots, people can see many schools were damaged in different scales, from broken windows’ glasses to broken classrooms. In order to motivate teachers and students back to school, the regional education office calls Wahana Visi Indonesia (WVI) to assist them providing a trauma healing consultation.
“The Education Office also get an assistance from WVI to provide a trauma healing consultation for students and teachers for two weeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SMA Negeri 1 Wamena Principal Yosep Wibisono said after the incident both parents and students mostly decided leaving Wamena for a while. “So I am taking an initiative to clean our school with the help of the rest of teachers and students left. This is for reducing the unrest feeling when learning activities resume to normal.
There is no major damages occurred in SMA Negeri 1 Wamena. Only some windows’ glasses in the classroom, staff office hit by stones and broken as well as the school’s signpost and fence.
Separately, Efaim Yeuruan, the principal of SD YPPK Santo Yakobus Hone Lama, said the school has opened but only seven teachers and two of 490 pupils coming to school. “I have heard that students who are today absents because their parents are taking them to their hometowns after the riots,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the last 4 October 2019, the officials of the Jayawijaya Regional Government together with locals and police and military cleaned some debris from any exposed schools from Wouma to the areas of Wamena City including Hom-Hom.
Many locals and other community’s members participated to clean debris at SMP YPPK Santo Thomas. A classroom which burned down in the incident need more attention in addition cleaning the broken glasses.
Jayawijaya Regent appreciates teachers and students attending school
The Jayawijaya Regent Richard Banua expresses his appreciation to teachers and students attending the first day of school though it’s only a few.
“I hope these pupils can motivate others who might be now in a refuge. They can see that our schools start to operate,” said Banua.
He also hopes some absent teachers can resume teaching. To students and their parents, he said the government want everyone not feeling worried because it is now safe.
“Do not worry about the spreading rumours. But if you notice that schools are now open, let us sending our children to school as usual,” he said.
He also asks the security forces to maintain their performance in doing their job securing the situation. “I have talked to the local police chef asking him and his personnel to persistently maintain the security by doing patrol and deploying personnel at certain threat points,” he said.
Police name 13 suspects related to Wamena unrest
Jayawijaya Police name six other suspects to add the previous seven involving in a protest led to unrest in Wamena on 23 September 2019. Papua Police spokesperson Senior Commissionaire Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said the total number of suspects are currently 13. Ten of them are in the detention of Jayawijaya Police while three are still on the wanted list.
He told reporters the initial names of suspects are DM (19), RW (18), AO (16), RA (16), AK (19), DJ (32), YP (22), ES (27), MT (27), SK (40).
“YA, B and MA are still in the wanted list. There are students among the suspects. It assumes that they were only joining when destruction and burning had happened, while those in the wanted list allegedly provoked,” said Kamal in the press conference on Monday (7/10).
Moreover, he said these suspects are charged with Article 187 of the criminal code on combustion, Article 170 on destruction on people or goods collectively in public, and Article 160 on incitation to people to conduct crime.
“The police has kept the evidences related to the riots in Wamena, namely 34 stones allegedly used for destruction, 22 motorbikes and a car burned in the riots as well as a video footage of the incident,” he said.
Furthermore, Kamal said the number of suspects might be increased because the police are still continuing their investigation.
Meanwhile, the new appointed chief of Papua Police, the Inspector General Police Paulus Waterpau said there are two troops of Mobile Brigade deployed to help securing Wamena and now Papua Police plans to add another troop of Mobile Brigade to help the settled police and military troops in Wamena.
“I think the number of local troops in Wamena is enough. But we might add some more. This is also relevant to some other areas. Well, nothing, it’s just to look after and give understanding to the community,” said Waterpauw. (*)
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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