Special report: Risking peace in Wamena (part 4 of 6) – West Papua No.1 News Portal
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Special report: Risking peace in Wamena (part 4 of 6)

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Refugees of Wamena riot flew to Jayapura by Hercules of Indonesian Airforce before returning to their hometowns. – Jubi/Vembri Waluyas

An exploded mass riot blasted Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya Regency, Papua on 23 September 2019 has shocked the public’s sense of humanity. Everyone was shaken and mourned to see how the anti-racism protest by students exploded into a riot killing at least 42 people and destroyed half of the biggest town in Papua’s central highland. 

But what people want right now is to embroider the already-torn apart social relationship, to heal the wounds promptly. On the other hand, the government has many things to do if they want to rebuild a robust peace in society. This is the fourth part of six articles of “Risking peace in Wamena.”

Vague data on victims 

The day after the riot in Wamena, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian gave a press statement broadcasted on several national television channels. Tito said student demonstration in Wamena was triggered by a teacher calling her student ‘monkey’. Further, Tito stated the mass riot in Wamena started from around 07.30 am to 3.pm local time.

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“The mob…anarchists, some were throwing stones at shops nearby, especially owned by migrants…some shops were also burned…Until today (Tuesday, 24 September 2014) at 12 pm, twenty-six people died. Of these 26 victims, please take note, twenty-two are migrants. They died by stab wound and trapped in houses or shop during the fire. Then the other four victims are indigenous Papuans. Meanwhile, sixty-six others were injured,” said Tito in a press conference conducted in Jakarta, 24 September 2019.

After an update, the official police record said 33 people had died in Wamena riot. Twenty-five is “Papuan migrants”, while eight are “indigenous Papuans”. However, in separate research, Jubi discovered the number of dead victims in the riot is 42 people.

The mass riot in Wamena eventually harmed everyone’s humanity. Public shocked hearing many people died in their burning house or shop that was surrounded by the mob. This violent incident has lived thousands of migrants with trauma, which made them panic to get a flight seat to live Wamena.

Meanwhile, the dichotomy narratives on “Papuan migrants” and “indigenous Papuans” can easily create generalisation that “indigenous Papuans” are the perpetrators, while “Papuan migrants” are the victims. In reality, there are also many indigenous Papuans becoming victims in the riot.

When met in Jayapura on 1 October, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe declined this accusation. “This is not a conflict between Baliem Valley’s people with the migrants. Even, there is a student who Baliem Valley native got burned after refusing to join the mob, whereas two other students tortured, and they are also indigenous Papuans. This incident is not a conflict between indigenous and migrants,” said Enembe.

On the other side, there are many indigenous Papuans who save the migrants. “It was Baliem Valley natives who eventually save many migrants during the incident,” said Enembe.

The Rev. Simet Yikwa, a priest of Papuan Baptist Church (PGBP), for example, mobilised church officials to evacuate the migrants who mostly are the owners of the shops, car repair shops or stalls in Homhom and Pikhe streets. Other priests from Panorama Baptist Church and Kibaid Church also did the same. Natives in Homhom have evacuated at least 700 migrants.

Around two kilometres from the northern of Yikwa’s church, Obeth Mabel also saw many strangers run away in all direction and acted anarchy. When he saw the anarchy mob tried to burn a house at the t-section of Mikael Alua Street, Mabel and residents were determined to evacuate the migrants from their homes and shops in Pikhe Street.

They took the shop owners in the houses of natives to hide. “About 58 households. [They are] from different ethnicities, Batak, Enrekang. We took them along with their wives and children to our houses [natives. Some of them are my truck drivers. We finally dropped them to Wamena because the situation was uncertain,” said Mabel.

Meanwhile, at Pasar Misi, the traditional market in Wouma, the location where most death victims found, Robert Surabut and his three neighbours covered dozens of traders in their houses. “We took them to our houses. The outraged mob had arrived in front of the Pasar Misi housings, asked us where the traders from Pasar Misi were going? We said, ‘don’t know’.”

The police could handle the situation in Wamena after 4 pm. Both police and army were able to pick up the migrants who were being hidden by Yikwa, Mabel, Surabut and other natives.

The story of natives rescuing the migrants made the public outside Papua to be more careful in digesting the dichotomous narrative of “Papuan migrants” and “indigenous Papuans”. However, most indigenous Papuans are fear to be blamed. They decided to leave Wamena towards the remote mountains.

Meanwhile, Jayawijaya Regent John Richard Banua admitted to receiving information about indigenous Papuans who left the town. “We received reports from several sub-district heads about people from Lanny Jaya, Nduga, Yalimo, Tolikara who previously lived in the central of Wamena town have moved to nearest sub-district in Walelagama, Kurulu,” said Banua on 2 October 2019 in Wamena.

A gunshot victim in Asotipo, Wamena. – Jubi/Vembri Waluyas

The Regional Secretary of Lanny Jaya Regency Christian Sohilait said at least 

 6, 662 of formerly Wamena residents from Lanny Jaya had fled to the outskirt because of terrifying hearing rumour about security forces will seize and arrest indigenous Papuans who suspected involved in the riot on 23 September. “They fled to 43 location in Wamena outskirts, and 23 Papua Baptist churches,” said Sohilait on 8 October.

Meanwhile, Father Ivan Simomora OFMCap of St. Fransiskus Asisi Parish in Musatfak said there were thousands of Papuan natives walked across Musatfak on 24 to 25 September from Wamena. “Since 24 September, I saw some women and children walked in Musatfak carrying pots, cauldrons, wearing modest clothing to leave Wamena. The road was full; it was like an exodus,” said Father Ivan.

Among the refugees, he met a man whose leg wounded by a gunshot. “He kept his name a secret. The bullet was still in his leg. He refused to take to Jayawijaya Public Hospital in Wamena. He just gave the man antibiotics because his wound already swollen. He also found another man with burn injury and also refused to go to the hospital. They lived only for a night in Musatfak, then going somewhere,” said Father Ivan.

Based on the ground research, Jubi discovered the fact that 42 people died in Wamena riot. This number is higher than the police data, which recorded 33 death victims. To Jubi, Father Ivan Simamora predicted the number of Papuans who killed or wounded might increase, given indigenous Papuan are often fear to report deaths or injuries in an incident like the mass riot in Wamena.

“The problem is repeatedly the same. If indigenous Papuans injure in the conflict, they are always scared to go to the hospital. If someone dies in a conflict, their family are also afraid to make a report. They are afraid of being arrested or blamed,” said Father Ivan. (To be continued)

Jubi journalists Victor Mambor, Islami Adisubrata, and Benny Mawel contributed in this article. 

 

Reporter: Aryo Wisanggeni

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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A story of Ruth Dolly Pagawak, Papuan woman who recovered from Covid-19

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Ruth Dolly Pagawak. -Jubi/Hans

Manokwari, Jubi – Ruth Dolly Pagawak, twenty years old Papuan woman who declared negatives after two swab checks, could go home. She finally can meet her baby and the rest of her family on Saturday afternoon, 16 May 2020 after being quarantined at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital.

Along with Pagawak, other patients H. Abdullah Appe (62 years old) and La Marra (65 years old) were also declared has recovered from the Coronavirus. Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan officially take three of them out of the hospital.

While wearing a mask and holding her health certificate tightly, Pagawak told that her recovery is God’s blessing. “This is because of the grace of Lord Jesus that I was declared recovered of the Coronavirus,” said Pagawak holding a bucket of flowers by her doctors and nurses.

During her medical treatment at the hospital, Pagawak always listened to doctors and the medical team who treated her. She declared that listening to the government and medical staffs’ advice during the treatment is very important. By doing that, the body immune will stronger to combat the virus.

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“During my treatment, I routinely consumed vitamins and complied the doctors’ orders. I was also tried not being stressful because I believed that I would recover,” she said.

Since she was tested positive of Coronavirus in the mid of April, Pagawak has not experienced the most severe symptom. She claimed to only experience light symptoms such as cough and runny nose.

“I never experienced severe symptoms such as shortness of breath. I just had a cold and a mild cough.”

As the first Papuan woman who recovers from Coronavirus in Papua Barat, Pagawak advised people, in particular native Papuans, not to underestimate this virus. Still, they also do not need to overwhelm panic.

“The point is we must remain vigilant. Wear a mask, wash our hand routinely and get enough rest. We cannot avoid this virus because it is not visible. Therefore, we must follow all medical advice by the government, and never forget to pray and beg for mercy and recovery from God,” she said.

Pagawak told that she initially didn’t believe in her initial test confirming that she was Coronavirus positive because she was in the postpartum period. But with the support and permission of her husband, she finally agreed to take an initial medical treatment at Manokwari Hospital separately from her baby. She then continued to quarantine at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital since 1 May.

“I initially didn’t believe that I am Coronavirus positive. I just delivered my first child, who was six weeks at the time. So, when they took my baby and me from Warmare Subdistrict to Manokwari Hospital, we were treated separately,” she said.

This young mother also thanked the quarantine team of Papua Barat Provincial Hospital because of treating her and other patients sincerely and pouring them with encouragement and motivation.

“Personally, I thank the medical team, doctors and everybody who involved in Papua Barat Provincial Hospital. They are noble-hearted people because they treated us nicely. They are warm and always motivate us; therefore, we remain motivated to recover,” she said.

The information from the Covid-19 Task Force Papua Barat stated that Pagawak’s baby is currently undergoing treatment by a paediatrician at Manokwari Hospital. The baby, on the contrary, was declared negative since the initial examination and treated separately from the mother.
Meanwhile, Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan hopes that local community and neighbours of the recovered patients to accept them when they return to their family and neighbourhood.

“I hope people can accept them when they return to their family. Their recovery was also the hard work of the Papua Barat Provincial medical staff as well as our prayers,” said Mandacan at the Papua Barat Hospital on Saturday (16/5/2020). (*)

 

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Joyce Lin, a pilot of MAF crashed plane was also an IT specialist graduate from MIT

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Joyce Lin. – maf.org

Jayapura, Jubi – An aircraft operated by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) was reportedly being crashed and drown in Lake Sentani on Tuesday (12/5/2020). Locals reported the incident after hearing an explosion. After two minutes take-off from Sentani Airport to Mamit, Tolikara Regency, the aircraft lost contact with the air traffic control tower.

Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo told Jubi that the crashed aircraft was possibly carrying books and stationeries for Yayasan Papua Harapan based in Mamit. President GIDI, the Rev. Dorman Wandikbo, also said the same thing.

“The aircraft was carrying school books and stationeries to Mamit,” said the Rev. Wandikbo by phone to Jubi. The pilot of the crashed plane later identified as Joyce Lin, a US citizen. Her body found at a depth of 13 meters in Lake Sentani.

Joyce, according to the Rev. Wandikbo, had just flown in Papua, although she had many experiences flying the small aircraft.

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The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

Joyce Lin grew up in Colorado and Maryland. She involved in a non-denomination local evangelist church service from a young age. At the age of eight, she showed her interest in everything linked with computers, mainly computer programming. Her interest in aviation also developed at an early age when her neighbouring pilot took her to the local air show.

She later took the computer science in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Engineering from the MIT. Because she had an interest in aviation, she also obtained a certificate of the private pilot while still in college.

After graduation, Joyce Lin worked as a computer specialist at a commercial company for ten years until obtaining a position of the Director of Engineering, while growing her enthusiasm towards seminary at the same time. She then registered as a student at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity. While studying theology there, she learned about the missionary flying service. It surprised her when knowing that there is a job that can combine her interest in computers, aviation and Christianity service at once. From there, she found a strong call to work as a missionary pilot. She had instrument certification and commercial flying certificate and experience working as a flight instructor to meet the requirement as a pilot for MAF. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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The body of crashed MAF aircraft found 13 meters below water

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Lake Sentani. -Ist

Jayapura, Jubi – Roberth Tunyanan from KNKT (the National Transportation Safety Committee) Papua said the body of a pilot killed in the crashed aircraft was found in Lake Sentani on Tuesday morning.

“I received the report stating the Rescue Team had found the body of MAF pilot flying the aircraft PK-MEC in Lake Sentani,” Tunyanan as quoted by Antara News Agency on Tuesday morning (12/5/2020).

The report also revealed that her body found at a depth of 13 meters trapped in the cockpit.

The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

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The aircraft controlled by Joyce Lin reportedly crashed around Lake Sentani that located between Jayapura Municipality and Jayapura Regency in Papua Province. The aeroplane took off at 6.27 a.m. local time and lost contact two minutes after take-off. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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