Military Police have named nine soldiers suspects in a case pertaining to the killing of two Hitadipa villagers in Intan Jaya regency, Papua.
The soldiers are suspected of torturing two civilians identified as Luther Zanambani and Apinus Zanambani to death and burning their bodies to hide their crime, Military Police commander Let. Gen. Dodik Widjanarko said.
"To hide the evidence, the victims’ bodies were burned and the ashes were disposed of in the Julai River in Sugapa district," Dodik said as reported by tempo.co on Wednesday.
He said personnel of Infantry Battalion (Yonif) PR433/JS arrested Luther and Apinus on April 21, on suspicion of being members of a Papuan armed group.
They were then questioned in Sugapa.
During the interrogation, Dodik said "inappropriate excessive force" had caused Apinus and Luther to end up in critical condition.
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Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel then move them to Yonif PR433/JS Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) in a civilian truck. Both victims died on the journey.
"Apinus and Luther's body were burned upon arrival at the strategic reserves command," Dodik said.
He explained that a joint team from the Cendrawasih Military Command in Papua and the TNI had questioned 19 soldiers and the victims' family members in relation to the incident.
"We named nine suspects based on our investigation, comprising of two soldiers from Paniai 1705 Kodim and seven soldiers from Yonif PR433/JS," Dodik said.
The suspects have been identified as Maj. Inf. ML, First Sgt. FTP, Maj. Inf. YAS, First Lt. Inf. JMTS, Chief Sgt. B, First Sgt. OSK, First Sgt. MS, Second Sgt. PG, Second Cpl. MAY.
Dodik further stated that the investigative team was probing three other soldiers: First Lt. Inf. DBH. First Sgt. LM and First Lt. Inf. FPH, to determine their roles in the incident.
The suspects are facing multiple charges that include battery, assault, hiding corpses and aiding a crime. They were also charged under Article 132 of the Military Code (KUHPM).
In November, the Military Police also named eight soldiers suspects in an arson case in Hitadipa village, Intan Jaya, Papua.
The joint team is also investigating the fatal shooting of pastor Yeremia Zanambani, which also took place in Hitadipa.
Prior to his death, Yeremia was involved in an investigation to find Luther and Apinus, who at that time were declared missing after being detained by military officers in a "COVID-19 raid".
Yeremia had also visited Sugapa Koramil to search for Luther and Apinus.
Dodik said the investigative team was gathering evidence and waiting for the autopsy of Yeremia's body.
"We have summoned 21 soldiers from Yonif R 400/BR for questioning regarding the incident," he said, adding that he gave them until February 2021 to fulfil the summon.
Dodik claimed all criminal offences allegedly committed by TNI Personnel in Intan Jaya regency would be investigated thoroughly and be processed in a transparent manner.
Meanwhile, Regional Representatives Council (DPD) speaker from West Papua, Filep Wamafma, has urged the central government to call off military operations in Papua.
"The human rights of [Papuan people] will never be properly upheld if [the government] continues to carry out military operations in the region as if Papua is under martial law," Filep said on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.
He claimed TNI personnel had committed human rights violations in Luther and Apinus's case and that they had violated the 1984 International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Filep also said the burning of Luther and Apinus’ bodies by TNI personnel should not be tolerated.
"Even if they were dead, they should be respected as human beings," he said. (nal)