The violence in Indonesia’s easternmost province appears to be spiralling out of control after an Indonesian and a foreigner were shot by unknown assailants in separate incidents on Tuesday.
A teacher was shot and killed dead in Puncak Jaya regency on Tuesday, while a German tourist was shot and wounded in Jayapura.
Commenting specifically on the Jayapura shooting, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said in Jakarta on Tuesday that security officers were hunting for the perpetrators.
The tourist, identified as 55-year-old Pieter Dietmar Helmut, was shot several times while walking on Jayapura Beach, about 10 kilometers from Jayapura’s downtown district. The beach is typically full of visitors and tourists during holidays.
Helmut was with his wife, Medina Pachon, sightseeing at the Base G seashore, when an unknown man got out of a blue Toyota Avanza and shot him.
“The team of security officers are still hunting for the perpetrators and have identified the vehicles,” Djoko said as quoted by kompas.com.
Based on information from Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Yohanes Nugroho, the shooting took place at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Helmut had just finished swimming with his wife. The pair had been on the beach since 8 a.m., Yohanes said.
Telda Yakadewa, an eyewitness, offered an account of what happened next. “The perpetrators arrived in three cars [...] the [assailant] abruptly stopped his car near Helmut. He got out of the car and shot him in the chest and thigh.”
Yohanes said that the man shot Helmut twice in the back and when the victim turned around the attacker shot him again in the chest and thigh.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. BL Tobing said separately that the police were still searching for the attacker, who he believed was still within the city.
The police questioned several witnesses on the scene, including Pachon.
The motives behind the shooting remain unknown.
Helmut was taken to Jayapura General Hospital for treatment.
Papua Health Agency head Joseph Rinta said Helmut was in stable condition and showing signs of recovery after an operation.
“The result of the operation was satisfactory. No projectiles were found in the body of the victim as the bullets passed through,” Joseph said.
Meanwhile, the victim of the fatal shooting in Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya, was identified as Anton Arung Tambila, 36, an elementary school teacher.
Arung was shot by an unidentified man on Tuesday evening at his house in Kulirik area.
Johanes said that Arung was serving customers at his sugar kiosk next to his house when one of the customers suddenly shot him in the head, killing him instantly.
Arung lived in a teachers’ housing complex next to Dondoboga Mulia elementary school near an Indonesian Military post in Kulirik.
His body was taken to Mulia General Hospital.
“The weather was cold and cloudy and no one had the guts to go out of their houses,” Petrus, a local resident in Mulia, said.
Arung’s shooting is the latest in a series of fatal shootings in Mulia, and the second civilian death caused by unidentified assailants in May alone.
Arkilaus Refwutu, 48, a motorcycle taxi driver, was shot and killed on May 17.
Poengky Indarti of the NGO Imparsial urged the police to be professional in order to protect the people.
“The police’s failure to capture perpetrators in the fatal shooting incidents will thrust Indonesia into the international spotlight,” Poengky said.
She said that Indonesia had been bombarded by questions on human rights violations in Papua during the recent meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group.
“Therefore the police have to be transparent. If there are allegations of separatist groups or invisible troops in Puncak Jaya, they have to be publicly uncovered, otherwise the police will only become scapegoats over a series of violent cases,” she said.