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Special report: Risking peace in Wamena (part 5 of 6)

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The shophouse in Pikhe had burned to the ground. – 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. The article is the fifth part of six articles of “Risking peace in Wamena”. 

Those who dwell in the dark of sorrow

In the central area of Pisugi, the Rev. Simet Yikwa set his feet on the muddy pathway towards a silimo, a traditional housing compound of the central Papua highlands. “There, the body of Kelion Tabuni cremated,” he told.

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The compound was quiet. Only a few men were inside. “We’ve just got back. Since 24 September, we have left Pikhe with our families. Today, only men started to return home, while women are still in the refuge,” said a relative of Kelion on 8 October 2019.

The Rev. Simet Yikwa then said the shooting of Kelion Tabuni (20 years old) on 23 September had triggered the burning of shops and stalls in Homhom. Before the incident, Yikwa said he saw the masses dressed in high school uniform was outraged and threw stones in all direction. They became violent after failing to infiltrate the police barricade in front of the Wamena Police Headquarters in Homhom Street, Wamena.

“They threw stones in all directions, but no one set a fire. After seeing Kelion Wenda get shot, they got angrier and took fuel in bottles displayed in front of the stall, then burned the stalls and shops in Homhom and Pikhe streets,” said the Rev. Yikwa.

Meanwhile, none of Tabuni’s relatives knows how could be there. He just returned to Papua from Manado at the end of August and arrived in Wamena only two weeks before the riot.

His uncle Tianus Jikwa said Kelion was supposed to join him in gardening on 23 September morning. “I reminded him about it on Sunday evening. But he went to Homhom. We didn’t know what had happened. We just heard that he was hot at noon. Some relatives brought his body from Homhom to here on foot. They arrived at 4 in the afternoon,” said Tianus Jikwa.

Kelion Tabuni died with a bullet hit his stomach that pierced his lower back. Those who brought his body home told that he was shot near the campus of the Social and Political Science College of Amal Ilmiah Yapis in Homhom Street. They immediately took his body and brought it to Pikhe. This is why his death not recorded in the database of victims released by police.

His relatives testified that there were no other injuries except the gunshot wound. “We cremated his body on 24 September 2019 at around 1 p.m. Then, in the afternoon, we fled,” said Tianus Jikwa.

Meanwhile, the family of Niligi Wenda also dwelled in the same grief. Niligi Wenda is a shop’s security guard in Homhom area. “It was his day off. But when he heard about the riot that occurred in Pasar Misi, Wouma, he came to see it. He didn’t bring anything at that time, but he got shot on his chess instead,” said his relative to Jubi on 8 October 2019.

Like Tabuni’s relatives, Wenda’s relatives are also afraid to report Niligi’s death to the police or government. They worried if they said it, the police would accuse Niligi as a rioter.

A number of buildings had burned to the ground in Homhom. – Jubi/Vembri Waluyas

Another family in Wesaput also mourned by the death of Eles Himan (25 years old). Himan was the last semester student of the Social and Political Science of Amal Ilmiah Yapis who shot dead while on campus. His relative Iton recalled that Eles left early in the morning on 23 September 2019 to finalise his final thesis for a prerequisite of graduation. He wanted to attend the graduation scheduled on 5 October 2019.

“On that Monday, Eles left Wesaput at around 7.30 a.m. He brought a backpack containing all relevant documents to his thesis, ID card, smartphone, saving account book, and a letter of appointment stated his position as a facilitator of Village Fund program in Yahukimo Regency. After he was leaving, we heard a riot occurred in Homhom. We tried to call him since 9 a.m. but only heard a waiting tone. He never received the call,” said Iton.

His relatives then came to the Jayawijaya public hospital in Wamena on the morning of 24 September. “The family found his body in Room 1. The nurse said Eles was the last victim received by the hospital on 23 September. The police brought his body and arrived at the hospital at around 8.16 p.m. We didn’t know that he was shot. We only knew that he went to school for taking care of his thesis and graduation day. Why he must be shot?” regrets Iton.

Moreover, Iton said Eles Himan died because of a shot on his hip. “The bullet was still there, and no other wounds found on his body. But both his neck and shoulders were swollen, as well as his arms and legs. We cremated his body on 25 September,” said Iton pointing Eles’ grave located in the back of the silimo.

Eles Himan is one of eight dead victims who by the National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian identified as “indigenous Papuans”. Meanwhile, the other seven victims are Eliaken Wetapo, Gestanus Hisage, Ketron Kogoya, Manu Meage, Nison Lokbere, Yus Asso, and Marius Wenda. In contrast, Kelion Tabuni and Niligi Wenda are “indigenous Papuans” who not yet registered in police official record. Also, the Papua Customary Council of Extraordinary Congress recorded other six death victims, namely Lawan Hesegem, Beam Wenda, Inius Tabuni, Naligin Yikwa, Wenas Babingga, Yandrik Wenda.

Separately, Jubi found another dead victim named Nisaba Himan. Some residents testified that his body found in Pisugi with a gunshot on the chess. Both the police and council have not yet included his name in their records.

In a massive rampage like what had happened in Wamena, it was not easy to trace the whereabouts of all victims. “We are worried that the number of dead victims could be even more, given that many injured victims are afraid to go to the hospital. We should find and trace all the victims. By this way we can start the process of reconciliation,” said Domikus Surabut, the Chairman of the Papua Customary Council of Extraordinary Congress. (To be continued)

Jubi journalists Victor Mambor, Islami Adisubrata also contribute to 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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