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Jakarta Post

Government urged to investigate fatal shooting in Papua

  • Nethy Dharma Somba

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura   /   Sat, December 19, 2015   /  06:05 pm

Activists have urged the government to make serious efforts to resolve alleged human rights violations in Papua, especially a recent fatal shooting in Yapen.

The Jakarta chapter of the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) and the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) legal bureau in Papua have said they believe human right violations occurred in Yapen on Dec. 1, in an incident in which four people died and eight others were injured after they were allegedly shot by security personnel.

'€œResidents of Wanampompi village, Randawaya district, Yapen regency, are also traumatized by the incident,'€ Rev. Dora Balubun from the GKI legal bureau told The Jakarta Post via phone on Friday.

In an LBH and GKI Papua press release, they strongly condemn what they claim was an incident of police brutality in which unarmed civilians were shot at because they raised the separatist Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag in front of the house of Erick Manitori, believed to a leader of the Free Papua Movement.

According to Dora, Manitori and Yulius Robaha were shot in the leg, dragged onto a truck. It was suspected that they were tortured.

'€œBoth of them died before arriving at the hospital,'€ said Dora.

Besides that, eight other people with gunshot wounds were taken to the Biak Hospital for surgery.

She also demanded the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) immediately resolve the alleged human rights violation and urged President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, the National Police and Indonesian Military chiefs to take responsibility for the incident.

When contacted by the Post, Papua Komnas HAM representative Frits Ramandey acknowledged that the incident might be considered a human rights violation due to the fatalities, but added that further investigation was needed.

Frits said moments after the incident, he immediately led a team to Yapen to investigate. The incident started after a group of local Free Papua Movement members, led by Manitori, raised the flag in front of his house.

Police arrived later, and a gunfight ensued, leaving bullet holes in police cars.

Based on Komnas HAM Papua'€™s investigation into the incident, Frits said that the gunfight was caused by failed negotiations and added that the Yapen regency administration and security personnel had failed to anticipate the situation despite the presence of active separatists there.

Komnas HAM Papua also said that it believed that a failure to follow procedure had occurred due to the many bullet holes in the walls of homes, as well as the casualties and injured victims. The commission also believed shots were not only directed at armed separatists, but also at others.

Komnas HAM Papua, added Frits, recommended that the Papua Police chief question all police officers who were present at the incident to discover who had shot and killed the people.

Meanwhile, Papua Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Rudolf Patrick said the media should ask Komnas HAM Papua about the alleged human rights violation, as it was the first to arrive at the scene.

Regarding the alleged failure to follow standard procedure, he added that the internal affairs division of the Papua Police had examined 25 police personnel who had confronted Manitori'€™s group on that day.

'€œIf this can be called a gross human rights violation, then ask Komnas HAM Papua about the matter,'€ Rudolf said.

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