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West Papua ‘becoming a hunting ground’ as Indonesian forces open fire on student protesters

October 28, 2020

West Papua ‘becoming a hunting ground’ as Indonesian forces open fire on student protesters

SBS News

More than a dozen university students have been injured in an incident in the Papuan capital, Jayapura, with witnesses claiming Indonesian troops opened fire to disperse a peaceful rally.

A young man has been severely beaten and a dozen other students injured after Indonesian security forces opened fire on a university rally in the Papuan capital, Jayapura.

Months of fresh demonstrations have gripped the region as thousands of Indigenous West Papuans renew calls for an independence referendum amid a deadly crackdown in the Indonesian-ruled provinces.

Some 13 university students were injured in Jayapura on Tuesday, with victims and witnesses claiming Indonesian troops opened fire to disperse a peaceful rally of about 20 people.


read more

The history behind Papua’s resurgent political turmoil


Benny Wenda, from the Liberation Movement of West Papua, said Indonesia was imposing martial law.

"These were live rounds,” Mr Wenda said. “West Papua is becoming more of a hunting ground by special forces.”

Indonesia’s control of the provinces has long been a cause of tension among Indigenous locals with low-level conflict and independence movements simmering for decades.

Despite a heavy military presence in the region and the threat of COVID-19, demonstrations calling for an independence referendum reignited in July.

It came after hundreds of thousands rallied in August and September of 2019, only to be silenced by a flood of more armed troops.


Australia urged to take stronger stance on curbing West Papua bloodshed

It’s estimated up to 70,000 people have been displaced and 250 killed in the past two years of violence.

Victor Yeimo from the West Papua National Committee said action would continue.

“Our message is very clear, West Papuan people need a political solution,” Mr Yeimo said. “We’re calling on our Melanesian and Pacific leaders to upgrade its resolution to

get the people of West Papua free from the colony of power.”

For West Papuan refugees who fled to Papua New Guinea in the 1970s, there’s still hope they will one day be able to return.

“We will stay in PNG for the rest of our life, or if West Papua independence is decided, we go back to our home,” said Olof Wayabgkau, who fled Jayapura in 1975.

SBS News contacted the Indonesian embassies in Sydney and Canberra but did not receive a response.


2) ’Potentially lethal’ police assault on Indigenous Papuan man was caught on camera

Fresh questions have emerged in the case of Marius Betera, a farmer who died shortly after an altercation with a police officer near an oil palm plantation in Indonesia.

BY THE GECKO PROJECT AND MONGABAY ON 27 OCTOBER 2020 Mongabay Series: Indonesian Palm Oil

  • Marius Betera was allegedly assaulted by a police officer in May in Papua, Indonesia. Though he died some two hours later, authorities moved quickly to attribute his death to a heart attack.
  • Mongabay and The Gecko Project have learned that the alleged assault was caught on CCTV camera belonging to a palm oil company, the Korindo Group. The video has yet to be released to the public.
  • Indonesian police and the National Commission on Human Rights have cited a post-mortem report to dismiss the possibility that Marius’ death was linked to the assault, but a forensic pathologist points to a “realistic possibility” of a connection.

This article was co-produced with The Gecko Project.

The alleged assault of an Indigenous man in the Indonesian province of Papua by a police officer around two hours before he died was caught on CCTV camera, Mongabay and The Gecko Project have learned.

Marius Betera, 40, died at a health clinic in Boven Digoel, a heavily forested district in the far east of the country, in May, shortly after he was reportedly beaten by the officer.

The incident took place outside the office of a logging and oil palm plantation company, the Korindo Group, after Marius arrived to complain that food crops he had planted inside land licensed to the firm had been pulled down.

Police say they have arrested the officer, Melkianus Yowei, and that an investigation is ongoing. A separate investigation by the National Commission on Human Rights, known as Komnas HAM, concluded that Melkianus committed “an act of violence” that was “arbitrary, excessive and unprofessional.”

It has now emerged that the altercation was captured by Korindo’s surveillance cameras. The video has been seized by police as part of their investigation.

Human rights observers have called for the release of the footage, to ensure the investigation by the police of one of their own is impartial, in a region replete with human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, at the hands of the security forces.

“Judging from history, this will end up in impunity if there’s no public pressure,” said Veronica Koman, an Indonesian human rights lawyer who advocates for the rights of Papuans. “The court process and result won’t provide a sense of justice to Papuans. So it’s better if it’s made public.”

Concern over the integrity of the investigation has been heightened after the police moved quickly to dismiss the possibility of any connection between the alleged assault and Marius’s death.

Citing the post-mortem carried out at the health clinic, which is operated by Korindo, police have repeatedly stated that the cause of death was a heart attack. On the basis of the same doctor’s report, Komnas HAM concluded there was “no corroborating evidence that Marius Betera’s death was caused by being beaten” by Melkianus.

In fact, the post-mortem appears to draw no such conclusion. An unofficial English translation of the report, seen by Mongabay and The Gecko Project, says the cause of death “cannot be determined” because an internal examination was not carried out…………….…


3) Papuan church denies TNI claim that latest shooting victim was KKB member

CNN Indonesia – October 27, 2020

Jakarta – On Monday October 26 combined units of Indonesian military (TNI) and police (Polri) conducted operations against an armed criminal group (KKB) in Jalai village, Sugapa district, Intan Jaya regency, Papua.

The operations were conducted to apprehend the perpetrators of the shooting attack on the Intan Jaya Joint Fact Finding Team (TGPF) on October 9.

During the operation, a person alleged to be a KKB member named Rubinus Tigau was shot dead in his honai (traditional Papuan hut). Aside from Tigau, the joint TNI-Polri forces also apprehended two other people during the operation.

However news circulated later that Tigau was a religious figure in the village and a katekis – a professional religious educator or teacher – who worked at the Jalae Catholic church diocese.

Joint Defence Area Command III spokesperson Colonel Czi IGN Suriastawa however denied this claiming that before the attack by the joint TNI-Polri forces they had conducted extensive reconnaissance of the area.

"That the target had been observed for some time, as well as being based on accurate information that the person concerned was active in the activities of a KKSB [armed criminal separatist group]. This was also admitted by the person’s family and other witnesses", said Suriastawa in a press release received by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday October 27.

The terms KKB and KKSB are used by Indonesian law enforcement agencies to refer to militant groups that call themselves the Free Papua Organisation-West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM).

Suriastawa explained that after the incident in Hitadipa district, Intan Jaya, when Pastor Yeremia Zanambani was shot dead, there has been a tendency for KKB members who are killed to be cited as being religious figures.

He then explained that other than the Hitadipa incident there have been three other cases where KKB members have been cited as being religious figures.

"Including on October 19, when there was massive intimidation by the KKSB to fly the Morning Star [independence] flag and to gather a houses of worship", he said.

Church refutes TNI claim

Quite different from the TNI, Timika Catholic church diocese administrator Pastor Marthen Kuayo said that Tigau is in fact a church employee.

"The Timika diocese explained that Rufinus Tigau (in the TNI version they refer to him as Rubinus) is quite correctly a katekis who works at the Jalae Catholic church diocese", said Kuayo.

He explained that Tigau is understood to have worked as a religious teacher at the Santo Michaelel Bilogai parish since 2015. Tigau was officially appointed as a religious teacher by the pastor of Santo Michaelel Bilogai and Pastor Yustinus Rahangier.

Tigau was also cited as frequently assisting other pastors who are having difficulties communicating with local people and on a daily basis helped pastors at the Jalae diocese because those assigned there are not local people.

Pastors at the Jalae diocese still do not understand the language or other matters related to local cultures. This is what makes Kuayo explicitly deny Tigau’s involvement in the activities of criminal armed groups.

"The accusation that Tigau was involved in a separatist group or an armed group as he has been accused of is untrue", he said.

During Monday’s attack during the joint TNI-Polri operation, a person by the name of Hermanus Tigapau was arrested while Tigau was killed during an exchange of fire.

Papua regional police public relations division head Senior Commissioner AM Kamal said that the armed separatist group was using home-made firearms and that the police are investigating the perpetrator who was arrested. "The two KKB members were involved in the earlier shooting of the TGPF team", said Kamal.

Kamal said that this group was one of those who often carried out terrorist attacks in the area of the Freeport gold-and-copper mine in Timika and are often involved in banditry and shootings on the road to Freeport. (tst/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Beda Suara TNI-Gereja Usai Penyergapan ke Warga Diduga KKB".]



4) I

ndonesian SOEs Eyeing to Recruit 1,000 Papuans


Ricky Mohammad Nugraha


Petir Garda Bhwana

28 October 2020 12:39 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The State-owned Enterprise (SOEs) Ministry is eyeing to recruit 1,000 Papuans from the SOEs recruitment program set to be launched in December.

The ministry’s human resources deputy, Alex Denni, wrote in a statement that this program will subject the Papuan and West Papuan recruits to work in a variety of SOEs.

“We will continue to recruit until the end of this year and if that has not reached our goal yet, we will continue this program in the following year,” Alex Denni wrote on Wednesday, October 28.

The recruitment program is assisted by the Forum Human Capital Indonesia (FHCI) and is hoped to support the government’s economic equality and Papua and West Papua development programs.

Also Read: KontraS Call for Civilian Court in Death of Papuan Pastor Yeremias


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