Wamena, Jubi – Nduga Regent Yairus Gwijangge said 29 children have died of suspected respiratory infections in Mbua sub-district, not 40 as widely reported by the media recently.
Gwijangge also said the children did not die at nearly the same time and that the Nduga Health Office chief who first revealed the deaths had not been in the area. Gwijangge said he and Jawijaya Police chief visited Mbua to see for themselves the situation on Wednesday (25/11).
“I always monitor through SSB, never heard about the report on the deaths. I have just heard this problem yesterday; even I’ve heard it from the Indonesian Police headquarters instead of my local staffers,” Gwijangge told in the interview held at Jayawijaya Police Headquarters when preparing to go to Mbua Sub-district.
He said he called the local health team and sought clarification about the matter. “I was told fewer than 40 people died. Toddlers indeed died, but the number is about 29,” he said.
Nduga Health Office said 32 children had died in the area within one month, but the regent said the initial number had not been verified.
“The report should be done after monitoring to the field. As the one who’s appointed, the Health Office Chief must go to the ground before disseminating this information. Related to this fact, I could tell he hasn’t come to the scene yet. They are currently attending the provincial working meeting, then the issue merely arose in the province, then grew and shocked us,” he said.
Related to the cause of death, the health team, according to the regent, also came to the scene and took several blood samples but the results came back negative. Thus, he suggested examining whether the local people have violated local customs.
“That’s why I suggested in addition to tackling this case through the health care system, we seek a solution through the custom point of view whether violations have happened leading to the death,” said the regent.
He also said there is a time span between each death occasion.
“It wasn’t two or three children died once in the time, there’s a time span. One died in this week, then another in the next week, and so on,” he explained.
Regarding to lack of definitive information about the number of victims, the regent expected the external parties do not urge the local government, since the local government is planning to run a field visit. Meanwhile the health care team of P2PL, Amat Lokbere confirmed about the toddlers’ death occurred at Mbua Sub-district, Nduga Regency. It started to happen since 20 October 2015.
“The toddlers’ death in Mbua is true. The initial symptom was occurred on 13 October when there was a sudden dead chicken, then continue to the pigs. And the toddlers followed to die on 20 October 2015. It was occurred in two days in one place or one was dead in one church. We have sought the cause. The symptoms are including fever, high heat temperature, turn cold briefly and then died,” Lokbere said.
He added at that time the Barefoot Task Force team from province and Puskesmas staffs came to the field and conducted examination but the result was negative.
“We took the test result to Wamena laboratory. Both field examination and laboratory test were negative. The temporary cause of death is currently determined as the acute infectious respiratory,” said Amat Lokbere.
“Based on our data in Mbua Sub-district, there are 29 cases of children and 3 adults, so the total is 32,” said Lokbere.
To check the information related to the death occurred in Mbua Sub-district, Nduga Regional Government along with Jayawijaya Police go to the field on Wednesday (25/11/2015).
“Concerning to this case, I will lead a team to the scene today, along with regional health care team. We will report our investigation to all stakeholders, especially to Papua Police as the coordinator,” said Jayawijaya Police Shemi Ronny Thaba.
Nduga Health Office Chief Mesak Kogoya who’s earlier told the information about the case of toddlers’ death in Mbua, until 21:00 Papua time, Jubi could not contact him for confirmation on the regent’s accusing. (Wesai H/rom)
Individuals might take advantage of current situation in Papua for own interests to meet President Widodo
Jayapura, Jubi – Emus Gwijangge, Papua parliament member from the Democratic fraction, appeals to any individuals or groups to not exploit the current situation in Papua for their personal or group interests.
He said this to pointing some recent group meetings with President Joko Widodo in Jakarta. The first group, he mentioned, met the president and then proposed some requests, while another group claimed Papuan youth representatives met some state officials. And the most recently some officials of the Indonesian community group in Papua met President Widodo and asked the president to divide the region of Papua into seven indigenous territories in both Papua and Papua Barat provinces.
“Everyone has a right to meet the president. But please do not act on behalf of indigenous Papuans while requesting something to the president,” Gwijangge told Jubi on Wednesday (16/10/2019).
According to him, indigenous Papuans never ask for a title, new regional split or anything else. What they want is the central government sit together with them in a forum facilitated by the third parties addressing some issues that occurred in Papua.
“What indigenous peoples want is a historical correction as well as the settlement of many cases of human rights violations in Papua. Therefore, the Melanesian race no needs to continue our contention against the central government. We shouldn’t go to Jakarta for asking so many random requests,” he said.
Moreover, he hopes President Widodo and other state officials should carefully accept the proposed meeting by any groups from Papua who claimed to represent indigenous peoples.
He said if the president and state officials want to meet indigenous Papuans, they must invite the indigenous representatives. Also, the provincial government officials, local parliament and Papua’s People Assembly members and religious leaders are there to consider.
“The sort of this representation would guarantee that the aspirations delivered to the president are coming from the indigenous Papuans. It would contribute to the future of our grandchildren for they would not be engaged in the same problems and continuously become victims,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Taufan Damanik, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, said Komnas HAM has repeatedly advised President Jokowi to come to Papua for a dialogue. The president is suggested meeting people and any relevant stakeholders to solve problems in Papua.
However, he said, the president has contrary invited other groups, who claimed themselves as Papuan leaders, to Jakarta.
“Inviting a group of people from Papua to Jakarta is not what we meant, but the president himself needs to come to Papua,” said Ahmad Taufan. (*)
Reporter: Arjuna Pademme
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
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