Four civilians were reportedly shot and killed by a joint police and military force in an incident at Karen Gobai Square in Madi district, Paniai regency, Papua, on Monday.
Head of Paniai Customs Council, John Gobay, said the four civilians were dead on the site while 22 other residents suffered injuries.
'The four victims are Apinus Gobai, Bertus Gobai, Habakuk Degei and Neles Gobai,' said Gobay in Jayapura on Monday.
He said the shooting incident, which occurred on 10 a.m. local time on Monday, began when local residents from Kampung Togokotu gathered at Soeharto Square in Madi district, Paniai, to question local authorities' measures they had taken in respond an incident that occurred on Sunday evening. In the incident, a group of criminals allegedly tortured several local residents who gathered at Pondok Natal (Christmas Hut) in Kampung Ipakiye, East Paniai.
The Togokotu residents who came together at the square performed 'waita', a traditional Paniai dance, after they burned a black Fortuner car allegedly used by the torture perpetrators. To prevent the protest from turning violent, the Madi Police dispatched officers to the rally site, located around 50 meters from the police office, to disperse the mass protesters who instead continued to perform 'waita' to voice their protests.
The rally unexpectedly turned violent, and the security officers started shooting. They killed four civilians and injured 22 others.
Fears are still shrouding Enarotali, according to Gobay.
He said security officers had treated civilians as if they were members of the Papua separatist organization's Free Papua Movement (OPM). 'The shooting incident was a gross human rights violation,' said Gobay, adding that both Papua Police chief and Papua Military District commander must be responsible for the incident. (ebf)(++++)