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Evidence of death squads emerge after Youtefa market riot sparked by corrupt police shakedown of gamblers

In-depth Investigation from West Papua Media team, our stringers in Jayapura and local sources

July 15, 2014

  • Riot erupted after corrupt Police attempt shakedown of gambling den
  • Weapons seized from police by gangsters, who have mysteriously “disappeared”
  • Three dead civilians had nothing to do with gambling: witnesses
  • Three dead civilians allegedly targeted by security forces because of Yali tribal membership.
  • Another story of savagery from Indonesian security forces

Evidence has emerged of a savage and potentially premeditated hunt of highland students by Indonesian security forces in Abepura on July 2 after the stabbing death of a police officer sparked an allegedly brutal dispersal of civilians by security forces. Three civilians and an Indonesian police officer were killed around the Youtefa market in Abepura after a failed attempt at a shakedown by corrupt police on a gambling ring degenerated into a riot.

Full transparency of the events leading to the riot and behaviour by police in bringing it under control has been hard to verify, however eyewitness testimony gathered by West Papua Media (WPM) stringers have yielded new information that alleges death squads were operating simultaneously to the riot, targeting three students from a single tribal group who were uninvolved with the riot.

Over twenty innocent people were also taken into custody on July 2, after hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes security forces arrested civilians and beat bystanders, Papuan shoppers and particularly civilians from the Highlands, with many sustaining injuries, after unidentified persons in the crowd of gamblers earlier attacked and fatally stabbed the Indonesian police officer, and beat up his partner.

Eyewitness evidence has also confirmed that three young Yali men, Demi Kepno, Sabusek Kabak, and Yenias Wandikbo were beaten and killed well away from the riot and dispersal, by plain clothes police and Kopassus special forces soldiers. This is despite clear evidence that none of the victims were involved in either the gambling, or the subsequent riot.

The violence had its immediate roots in a daily illegal game of dice (Judi Dadu) played in an Indonesian gangster (preman) run gambling den at Pasar Youtefa, by a mixed crowd of over 100 Papuan and Indonesian colonist gamblers.  According to witnesses interviewed by a West Papua Media stringer, the dice gambling rings are part of an informal industry that served to provide daily living income for its organisers, but was usually tolerated by local police in return for a cut of proceedings to supplement their police salary.

Indonesian military and police have a long history of running highly lucrative illegal gambling operations on everything from raffles to chicken, dog and human fighting, to premiere movie tickets. Gamblers and street thugs lured to the easy money are often recruited as the muscle behind preman organisation Pemuda Pancasila, a Kopassus proxy militia front that had thrown its weight behind the Prabowo Presidential Election campaign,  casting a dark shadow of fear over Papua over recent weeks.

Just after 3.30pm local time on July 2, Police Brigadiers (equivalent to Chief Sergeant) Asriadi and Samsul Huda from Abepura’s Tanah Hitam motorcycle unit, were conducting their allegedly corrupt daily shakedown rounds to demand protection money (tax) from stallholders when they arrived at the Judi venue. It is still unknown why the officers decided to shakedown this particular venue given that preman and police usually have a sophisticated and lucrative system of payoffs.

Gamblers reported that the two police officers walked into the venue without paying admission, angering the Indonesian colonist doorman, whereupon the police drew weapons and demanded that all present (including Papuan and colonist spectators) pay a flat rate “tax” to the police.

Witnesses claimed that the two officers and a customer began arguing after some gamblers refuse to hand over any money, saying they were tired of being shaken down. One witness claimed that the “preman” (gangster) manager of the venue pushed the police officer, complaining that protection money had already been paid to a higher ranking officer, and the shakedown would be reported. The officer Asriadi then smacked another gambler, the relatives of whom retaliated by seizing his rifle and throwing chairs, bottles and other objects at the fleeing officers. None of these claims could be independently verified by WPM.

Unverified reports also claim that all the gamblers, both Papuan and Indonesian, then chased the officers through the markets.  An Indonesian colonist trader named Herman told the Jakarta Post that Brig Asriadi tripped, and “was mobbed and stabbed by the gamblers.”

Claims that the rioters had stoned the officers to death remain unverified and only alleged by Indonesian colonist traders. No Papuan witnesses could be found to confirm the claims independently of the official police version.

The commotion and cries for help from the bashed police were immediately responded to by over a hundred armed police, Brimob and members of the Australian trained counter-terror squad Detachment 88, according to witnesses who described how large groups of armed men came running from every direction within seconds of the initial chase. They in turn were joined by over 50 plain clothes intelligence, police and military, including scores of Kopassus ojek riders, in seizing and beating large groups of civilians randomly, including traders and shoppers.

Reports remain unconfirmed whether security forces opened fire directly on bystanders at the markets or fired into the air, but many gunshots were heard by various witnesses, causing Papuan civilians to flee from the area. Nine Papuan gamblers were taken into custody as suspects, however the perpetrators of the fatal beating and those who had seized weapons were allowed to escape by security forces. In addition, police and plain clothes agents arrested a further 14 Papuan bystanders, who were uninvolved in the affray. All apart from the nine were released by police late that night, most having sustained injuries from their beatings. The status of the nine Papuan gamblers who were undergoing interrogation through to the weekend were unable to be ascertained at time of writing.

The violence occurred as Papuans in Jayapura were on edge, as arbitrary arrests, shootings and unprovoked beatings on civilians by security forces intensified ahead of the July 9 Indonesian presidential election. Many Papuan civil society and pro-independence groups joined a boycott call challenging the legitimacy of Indonesia’s colonial regime. The boycott was met with calls from the Indonesian military commander in Papua, Maj-General Christian Zebua, to “shoot dead any person” distributing election boycott materials – a threat which had materialised throughout the Land of Papua.

Arbitrary murders

The deaths of the three young Papuan students, at a time when Indonesian police are almost exclusively targeting Yali student and civil resistance activists (who make up the bulk of the membership of the West Papua National Committee) in a nationwide crackdown on freedom of expression, will only reinforce perceptions of a premeditated Indonesian security force campaign to eradicate Papua of Yali people. “The TNI hate the Yali with a passion, as this is the tribe that Benny Wenda is from,” an observer told WPM during the investigation, referring to the high profile UK-based leader of the Free West Papua Campaign.

Certainly members of the families of the dead agree that their dead children and brothers are being unfairly targeted.

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Sabusek Kabak (24) was a university student from the Yali village of Porongkoli in Yahukimo Papua. He passed through the Youtefa market at 8.00am from the Kilometre 9 post at Koya and continued on to the GKI Church students Hostel Liborang in Padang Bulan.

According to interviews with his younger brother Wemen, friends and witnesses, at 3.30pm on July 2 Sabusek went again to Youtefa, planning to return to Kilo 9 with Wemen.  After arriving at the Youtefa market he and his younger sibling didn’t have enough money to pay for the taxi back to Koya and went to look for a friend to borrow some money for their transport home.

As they were looking for taxi money, the riot broke out at the market. Some ran and there was the sound of gunfire, but Sabusek and Wemen were confused. Sabusek and Wemen agreed to go together and seek protection  at the Bank of Papua at the Youtefa market, without realising that there were “preman” plainclothed police manning a roadblock outside the bank.

They were then confronted and surrounded by the preman who were armed with sharp knives, machetes, and pistols, when Sabusek pushed his young brother behind him and told him to escape.   A transmigrant trader hid Wemen in their kiosk, however the preman police caught up and stabbed Sabusek with a bayonet through the heart, killing him instantly. Wemen and the trader witnessed the killing, as the preman walked away and left Sabusek’s body there. A woman from Biak, unknown to Wemen, told the migrant who had helped Wemen escape, “That is my child. Come my dear child let’s go home”. She then took Wemen to the protection of a Church hostel.

Sabusek’s body was not picked up by Police until the morning of 3 July 2014 by Police, who took his body to the Bhayangkara Hospital. The Kabak family were initially prevented from retrieving Sabusek’s body, and were forced to return with the Abepura Police Chief and District Head so the family could take the body. He was buried on 4 July 2014 at the public cemetery in Tanah Hitam, Abepura at 3.00pm by his family.

The Kabak family have demanded that the Papuan Police be held accountable for Sabusek Kabak’s death, and that there be an immediate arrest of those responsible and they face the process of law in the immediate future.

Unprovoked Savagery

Neither was the second victim involved in any form of opposition action against the police, yet he was savagely beaten until dead. Before the riot at the Youtefa market started, Yenias Wandikbo, a 20 year old Yali student, had been drinking alcohol together and relaxing with a friend during that day at the Engros Beach, until they ran out of drink in the early afternoon. Yenias and his friend then headed home from Engros via to the Youtefa market. In going there they reached the front of the YAMAS campus still unaware that there was a problem at the market, where they separated because of the everyday threat posed by security forces when buying alcohol. Yenias stumbled upon the riot area and straight into an ambush of plainclothes Indonesian preman – believed to be Kopassus soldiers by witnesses due to the impunity in which they moved. These preman then caught, beat and killed Yenias, witnessed by many in broad daylight less than one hundred metres away from the Youtefa market.

Yenias was beaten about the head with such extreme force that his brow, nose area, and rear of his skull was split apart. After Yenias was killed, his body was taken by the police to the Bhayangkara Hospital, where it was held until 3.20pm on July 4. Yenias’ family took him home to Nayak Hostel in Abepura, in order to transport his body to be taken back to Wamena.

Extrajudicial Execution

Demi Kepno, a 24 year old Engineering Student of Yali origin from Abenah District, Yalimo, was killed after being abducted by police in Abepura, at the same instance as the gambling ring was being broken up in Youtefa market, but some distance away from the market.

As with the two other victims, When Demi Kepno, together with several friends heard about the incident at the old market, they avoided returning to their homes. Demi was called by his girlfriend  – who it emerged was working as an intelligence agent – who wanted to meet with him, and he went to meet her in front of the Multi Crosir supermarket. Demi’s girlfriend ordered him to get in a black Avanza vehicle, without any idea he was getting in a car with plainclothes security forces

Demi was brought to the Yanmor Police station in Tanah Hitam just above Abepura, where he was interrogated by fully armed anti-terror police.  He managed to escape from the Police station, fleeing in the direction of Tanah Hitam Mountain. The police and plainclothes agents gave chase and Demi entered a house of a Butonese migrant, which was surrounded and searched by police, cornering Demi around 5.15pm local time, according to witnesses interviewed by WPM’s stringer.  Demi allegedly picked up a beam of wood in self-defence as police opened fire on him, hitting him in the abdomen. However, the gunshots did not kill him, so the plainclothes agents were seen to repeatedly stab Demi in the chest and neck with a bayonet, until he was dead.

His body was taken to the Bhayangkara Hospital, and the victim’s family took the body away at 4.35pm the following day to the family home at Tanah Hitam, and was buried in Abepura at the public cemetery on 5 July 2014.

Indonesian police in Abepura and Jayapura refused several attempts by WPM to provide a response to these allegations.

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GEMPAR Otsus Plus rejection rally banned, blockaded by Police in Jayapura

News article

from West Papua Media stringers in Jayapura

March 11, 2014

Several hundred students and civil society members led by the Papuan Student Movement (GEMPAR or “Uproar”) holding a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura today were again blockaded by around 200 armed riot Police who imposed a ban on the gathering, after a similar gathering on March 4 drew world attention.

The demonstration was called to show the extent of public opposition to the proposed new Special Autonomy “Plus” (Otsus Plus) legislation due to be imposed on Papua and West Papua provinces later in 2014.

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Scenes from Gempar rally rejecting OtsusPlus, Jayapura, March 11, 2014 (Photo: WestPapuaMedia/NareYare and Sauri Bounas. Please contact WPM before outside non-commercial use of any of these images for exact crediting)

Despite having rights of freedom of expression guaranteed under Special Autonomy legislation, large numbers of  Indonesian occupation force Police banned the gathering and prevented students from leaving the Cenderawasih Universtiy (UNCEN) grounds.  Scores of police were also on hand at other GEMPAR rallying points, at the new UNCEN gate, the old archway entrance to UNCEN, campus dormitories, and also outside the main Post Office in Abepura.

Police prevented unarmed civil society participants from joining the rally according to witnesses, and blockaded several groups of Papuan civilians across Abepura and Jayapura with scores of riot police in full armour, several ranks of heavily armed Brimob commandos from the Sabhara Perintis and Gegana anti-terror units, including several members of the Australian funded Detachment 88 counter-terror unit, backed up by over a hundred plain clothes armed intelligence agents dispersed throughout the town.

The Jayapura Police Chief, Alfred Papare, had banned the rally due to a highly restrictive set of conditions and threatened to use for against the protesters, however negotiation ensured that the day remain without violence, despite intelligence agents menacing violence.  West Papua Media (WPM) stringers reported and photographed several instances where media workers were being filmed and identified by intelligence officers and police.

Jayapura Police chief Papare demonstrated his opposition to democratic rights in Papua by providing a letter that outlined ten reasons for the rally ban, saying:

    • that GEMPAR is not an approved organisation in the eyes of POlice;
    • it didn’t pre-approve all pamphlets and banners with police beforehand
    • it refused to name individual organisers and speakers at the action;
    • did not provide Police with crowd numbers, nor get traffic clearance
    • Police would not recognise the local time zone of WPB, as it considers observance of local time as an act of separatism.  Indonesia only recognises time zones as WIB ( Western Indonesian Time), CET/WITA ( Central Indonesian Time ) and WIT/EST ( Eastern Indonesia Time)
    • That previous rallies caused traffic jams;
    • Gempar Chairman Yason Ngelia had previous shouted slogans and made speeches against government policy and the state, and was therefore allegedly “spreading hatred against Indonesia”
    • That all acts of free expression, collective action, mass rallies and peaceful protest were banned “To maintain the internal security situation conducive to smotth implementation of the democratic  legislative elections and the 2014 presidential election in the city of Jayapura” as that “could destabilise internal security.”

West Papua Media journalist Nare Yare (pseudonym) reports that despite these bans, students were undeterred and began a several peaceful gathering at the old arch gates of the university at 8.30 in the morning, also gathering outside the student dormitories at Perumnas 3 Housing Complex in Waena.  Other participants in the days events began a traditional cultural long march around 0920 to the UNCEN office of Lukas Enembe, Indonesia’s appointed Governor in Papua province.

However Police began to confront  and blockade the peaceful protesters at 1040am outside Perumnas 3 to prevent the marches from joining up, and about 15 minutes of shield charges, flying wedge attacks, physical pushing and shoving occurred between students and riot police.  There were no arrests reported, nor significant injuries at his time.

Later, protesters regrouped and attempted to read out statements at the Governor’s office, but police again moved in to prevent the statement criticising Otsus Plus being read in front of the Governors office.  Protesters then finished the  rally outside Perumnas 3, a site of martyrdom for West Papua youth, after several human rights abuses took place there, including the broad daylight extrajudicial assassination of former KNPB leader Mako Tabuni in 2012 by Detachment 88 officers.

At the archway entrance to UNCEN, Gempar coordinators conducted speeches and street theatre, with a creative theatre of West Papuan students, one by one, stamping into the dust and asphalt a copy of the draft Otsus Plus legislation, shouting “Tolak Otsus Gagal!” (“Reject Special Autonomy Plus!”).  This was then symbolically set on fire to finalise its rejection.

Protest coordinator Yason Ngelia said in a speech at Perumnas 3, “we reject Autonomy Plus.  Special autonomy has failed , we must determine our own fate.  The Special Autonomy Plus draft is prepared not from the desire of the people of Papua , but for the Governor and the interests of bureaucrats.  We will keep demonstrating until there is a solution for the fate of Papuans “

The GEMPAR demonstration in its rejection of Otsus Plus demanded three points, namely:

  • that the Government of Jakarta , the Government of Papua and West Papua stop discussion of implementation Special Autonomy Plus;
  • The Government of Papua and West Papua, along with the DPRP and MRP, begin facilitating Public Hearings of the support or rejection of Otsus Plus for all components of Papuan society;
  • A Referendum to be held on whether Papuans want Special Autonomy Plus.

Even during this peaceful reading of the opposition of Papua people to legislation seen as imposed by Jakarta on West Papua,  Police still blockaded the road with large numbers growing to more than 300 police,  4 trucks carrying Dalmas Papua Police from Abepura and one from Jayapura, 3 Brimob police Trucks , 1 Armoured assault vehicle, a water cannon, and two commanders vehicles.   Also in Old Abe Uncen , 2 trucks Dalmas Police from Jayapura Police Station were attending with several dozen police, and a 25 member Dalmas platoon/section at  Expo Waena taxi terminal.

Due to this intimidation and threats of further violence from security forces, organisers cancelled the rally and dispersed just before 2pm local time.

Organisers have vowed to renew their attempts to hold a peaceful demonstration on March 12.

West Papua Media will be monitoring.

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Historic united front in Papua defies police dispersals, supporting Vanuatu PM call on UNHRC in Geneva to address West Papua issue

News wrap-up

March 4 2014

from the West Papua Media correspondents in Jayapura and Geneva, with local sources

A broad united front of disparate Papuan civil resistance groups has come together to hold Peaceful gatherings across West Papua, in support of  Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses’ call for international action on West Papua at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today.

PM Carcasses used his ten minute address at the High Level segment of the 25th Session of the UNHRC to reiterate a call made at the UN General Assembly last September, for the UN to establish a specific Country Mandate on the situation of human rights in West Papua and to revisit honestly its role in the fraudulent Act of Free Choice of 1969.

The Vanuatu PM, long a champion for his fellow Melanesian’s right to self-determination in West Papua, used an impassioned speech to highlight “grave injustices facing West Papuan people” and to demand the international community take concrete action to end the suffering.

“In a world so closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about the lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for over 45 years.  Search the Internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs, and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abbuse of the rights of Melanesian people in Papua,” Carcasses noted.

The Prime Minster beseeched the Human RIghts council.  “But why are we not discussing it here in this Council?  Why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of who have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.  Many are the martyrs that have been persecuted and brutally murdered because they carry the unspoken fears of the millions now living in fear in the valleys and lofty mountains of Papua.  They are demanding recognition and equality and a respect for their human rights and to live in peace.  Will this August council hear their cries and now go forward to protect their human rights and put right all the wrongs of the past?”

Carcasses told the UNHRC that “The mandate should include the investigation of the alleged human rights violations in West Papua and to provide recommendations on a peaceful political solution in West Papua.”

Earlier on Tuesday in West Papua, the vibrant gatherings  – organised by university students and supported by a broad coalition of civil society and pro-independence groups – were predictably dispersed forcefully by Indonesian occupation forces, however organisers claimed success in expressing their aspirations peacefully and without bloodshed.

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Significantly for the struggle for self-determination in West Papua, the participant groups included the widest range of Papuan resistance components seen together for over ten years, with the united front coalition pulling together previously opposing groups under a common banner of supporting the Vanuatu Prime Minster’s efforts to get West Papua on the international agenda. Activists and leaders from the West Papua National Authority, National Federated Republic of West Papua, West Papua National Committee, the Papuan Women’s Movement, Papuan Traditional Council (DAP), West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, GaRDA-Papua , FRONT PEPERA , The Street Parliament (PARJAL), Papuan Student Movement (GEMPAR or “Uproar”), AMPTPI (Association of Central Highland Papuan Students), KMPB (Coalition of Papuan students Rise!), Papuan Students Alliance (AMP), Christian Youth Solidarity Papua (SKK-P), Papuan People’s solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights (SHDRP), all agreed to support the UNHRC support action being coordinated by the Student Executive council at Cenderawasih University in Abepura.

Led by University and high school members of the Movement of Papuan Students (GEMPAR or “UPROAR”), the mass gathered early on Tuesday morning in front of the the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) campuses at Waena and Abepura, erecting a large banner that read “The people of West Papua nation, support the Government of Vanuatu pursuing violations of human rights committed by the Government of Indonesia in West Papua”.  Speeches were made outside the campus entrance until 1025am local time, when Indonesian police from Jayapura station attempted to forcibly disperse the protesters listening to speeches.

According to witnesses, over a hundred Police in 6 trucks, 1 Panzer and 1 Police Bus were on standby, and were heavily armed.  However as the  group of students passed towards Waena, Police from Sentani and Jayapura amassed at the field of They Eluay’s tomb with a full unit of motorcycle commando police (Gegana), eight trucks and three armoured cars.  A platoon of heavily armed Brimob police at Post 7 Sentani completed the kettling of students to keep them confined.

Every place throughout the Waena, Sentani and downtown Jayapura  was guarded by several platoons of heavily armed Brimob police to prevent students and protestors from gathering.  An organiser told West Papua Media’s stringer, “This is a police action in Papua that prohibits students to express their opinions, through peaceful demonstration.”

Students then all gathered to rally silently at the UNCEN yard fence and spread a large banner, displaying  photographic evidence of Indonesian Security force’s violence against Papuan People.

An academic at UNCEN, Seth Wambrau, told the gathering, “These police officers, silencing democracy in Papua, this is the example that there is no freedom for students to express opinions freely, it is proving colonialism in Papua is happening.. Special autonomy is specific to the officials of Papua, not the Papuan people!”

The events were ended by Gempar peacefully in the afternoon with no arrests.

Further manifestations occurred in Fak-Fak on the west coast, Merauke on the south coast, and in Manokwari, according  to local reports.  The Fak-Fak gathering included a deeply sacred traditional pre-Islamic indigenous thanksgiving prayer and coffee ritual for the UNHRC plea for international attention to West Papua by Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil.  Members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and Regional People’s Parliament (Parlemen Rakyat Daerah, PRD) provided a security cordon to enable traditional elders and chiefs in Mamur village,  Kramomongga district to hold ceremony in support of the Vanuatu delegation’s efforts to bring the world’s attention to West Papua.

According to a description from KNPB participants of the ceremony, the elders then rejected wholly the powers of darkness and evil of all the Indonesia’s power system in West Papua. “After all this ritual is done, then the placenta from the Child returned to the Land, the mother land West Papua, who gave birth to all things, and all life is God’s nation of West Papua. Then all the evil forces of the Republic of Indonesia in Papua were symbolically collected by Mr. Haji Idris Papua Patiran, and were discarded by KNPB security, at least 100 meters from where the activity was taking place in Mamur,” the witnesses described. A procession then occured with a ritual washing of all gathered with the “water of life, in order to reconcile all the people with nature and clean the whole self of any desire to be children of the mutually hostile land.” a sacred representation of the West Papuan desire for independence. The ceremony was finished by the ritual serving of coffee.

The new West Papuan People’s movement (WPM’s term due to lack of official name) united front released a joint statement detailing the litany of suffering of West Papuan people, and demanded:

1 . People of West Papua are demanding to exercise the right of Self-Determination as recognised by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
2 . The UN must immediately take responsibility for the violations of human rights that have occurred in West Papua.
3 . People of West Papua ask the UN Human Rights Council to immediately form a special team to investigate all human rights violations in West Papua
4 . People of West Papua urged MSG member countries, specifically Vanuatu, to send a special team to examine and investigate cases of human rights violations that occurred in the region of West Papua.
5 . People of West Papua urge UN member States to immediately urge the Indonesian government to open up democratic space in West Papua.
6 . People of West Papua are asking the UN for the legal protection, over the application of the Wanted Persons List (DPO) to Buchtar Tabuni (chairman PNWP) and Wim Rocky Medlama (Spokesman KNPB), and all West Papuan independence activists.
7 . People of West Papua thank the People and the State Government of Vanuatu for the willingness to bring issues of human rights violations to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Below: Videos from today’s gathering in Abepura. Credit KNPB/Nesta Gimbal)







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Papuan cultural parade blockaded then broken up by Jayapura Police

From KNPB and West Papua Media sources in Jayapura

February 20, 2014

http://westpapuamediaalerts.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/565e1-dscf2364.jpg?w=448&h=336
Traditional Cultural Action, Jayapura, 17 February 2014

A cultural parade organised by university students in Jayapura was blockaded and then dispersed with force by Indonesian police on February 17, after Indonesian police refused to recognise West Papuan cultural expression.

The demonstration of culture, music, art and dance from across Papua’s indigenous tribes, in which several hundred students in two groups marched wearing traditional Papuan dress, was to highlight the demand of “Save the Papuan Culture”.  The manifestation was organised by the Youth Coalition for the Rise of Students (Koalisi Pemuda mahasiswa bangkit or KPMB) and the Cenderawasih University’s (Uncen) Student Executive Body (Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa or BEM).

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Speakers, songs and dances were performed from 8-10am local time in two locations, outside the Uncen Waena Housing Complex (Perumnas III) and in front of the post office in the town of Abepura, and at 10am, the Perumnas III mass began to march and dance their way to Abepura.

However Police blockaded the mass action once the crowd reached the Waena traffic lights.  Despite having previously notified police of their intention to hold the parade, field coordinators of the action were forced to negotiate with the police, pointing to the KPMB’s intention to hold a peaceful action that day in the form of Papuan cultural art.

However, in an outburst witnessed by a West Papua Media stringer, the Deputy Commander of the Jayapura District Police, the notorious hardliner Kiki Kurnia refused to let the gathering continue, warning the crowd that he would not tolerate “introducing some culture from an unknown place”.  “There is no such culture such as that in Indonesia,” Kurnia asserted, dismissing over 45,000 years of Papuan language, culture and art.

Kurnia then prohibited the students from displaying any form of Papuan culture, and further stated that the crowd “was prohibited from carrying out any action of any form whatsoever as the Governor had prohibited all forms of actions,”. according to independent sources and verified by WPM.  Just after 10am local time, ordered several platoons of heavily armed police to blockade and disperse the cultural gathering.  Several injuries were reported but unconfirmed.

After being forcefully dispersed,  a much larger mass returned and gathered in front of UNCEN’s main entrance, lighting a bonfire on the road in response.  According to witnesses, this crowd was spread out as far as Perumnas III in Waena, a distance of several kilometres.

According to the cultural event organisers, the crowd outside UNCEN was angrily voicing their objections to the continued silencing of the democratic space throughout all of Papua by the Police, with speakers expressing outrage at the betrayal of the culture of Papua.

“That the police had been obstructing the mass action stating ‘Where are you bringing this culture from? We don’t have any culture like that in Indonesia’ angered us all, as it is seen as a denial of the Papuan culture,” an organiser told West Papua National Committee (KNPB) media workers.

Members of the gathering clearly spoke out that if the police continued to betray and deny Papuan culture in such a way, that Papuans would mount an even larger scale action asserting the Papuan culture, and that they would boycott the 2014 presidential election, according to reports from the KNPB.  The action Coordinator Beny Wetipo then called upon the Papuan community and all parties to save the Papuan culture from being replaced by a foreign culture that was threatening the existence of the Papuan race.

opening fire

Shootings, killings, beatings, arrests as Hundreds flee to jungle after Indon Police open fire on peaceful KNPB demo

From the entire West Papua Media team in PNG and West Papua

November 28, 2013

WPM apologises for the delay in posting due to the remote location of the WPM team, and the delays in finding independent witnesses to help in cross-checking of this extreme situation.  This situation is developing and will be updated as more information comes to hand.

Key developments:

  • Indonesian police open fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death;
  • West Papuan activists and families forced to flee to the jungle for safety;
  • Indonesian security forces conduct scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians;
  • Attacks happen during visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman
  • over 200 people arrested across West Papua;
  • Journalists attacked by Indonesian police;

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Images from the crackdown in Jayapura (Credit:West Papua Media/MS); Images from Arrests in Timika (Credit: KNPBNews.com); and Wamena (Credit: WestPapuaMedia/KNPBNews.com).

Indonesian forces have again opened fire on a peaceful Jayapura gathering of about 500 people held by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), with the shooting of at least 4 demonstrators, and the confirmed death of at least one, on November 26.  A total of 15 people are still in serious condition in hospitals around Jayapura with a range of wounds sustained during the live fire dispersal by Indonesian police.

In the worst single act of Indonesian state violence since the October 19 2011 crackdown on the Third Papuan Peoples Congress, ongoing sweeps and arrests have been continuing in the time since, causing most members of the KNPB fleeing with their families into the relative safety of the jungle.  Unconfirmed reports have also surface that the police have called in the Indonesian Army (TNI) to hunt for KNPB members.

Correspondents have also reported to West Papua Media that Indonesian radio stations in Papua have been broadcasting repeated messages from the Indonesian police against all pro-independence forces, starting with the KNPB.  “We will use force to break apart the KNPB,” a senior Indonesian Police figure in Papua was heard to say on all Jayapura radio stations early on Wednesday morning.  Unconfirmed reports have said that these broadcasts have been repeated hourly across West Papua, with the National Police Chief also issuing warnings that separatism will not be accepted any more.

The rally was part of a nationwide day of mobilisations in solidarity with the opening of the Free West Papua Campaign office in Papua New Guinea on November 28.  31 people were arrested by Police in Timika, and 3 arrested in Sorong as KNPB chapters there also organised rallies and prayers to support the opening of the PNG office, which is being held with the involvement of thousands of people throughout Papua New Guinea, including senior members of the PNG Parliament.

A rally in Wamena drew several thousand enthusiastic and cheering supporters wearing traditional dress (many bedecked in the banned Morning Star flag) on a long march mass action, led by KNPB Wamena region Chairman, Simion Dabi  This was the only rally where police were vastly outnumbered by participants, and police blockaded several points along the route but did not attempt to prevent the rally from going ahead.

Jayapura
The Jayapura shooting victim, KNPB activist Matthius Tengget from near Oksibil in the Star Mountains, died of his wounds in custody.  However, his body was not retrieved until Wednesday evening after it was dumped into the lake, allegedly by those members of the Brimob paramilitary police units who shot him as they were conducting the dispersal.  At time of writing, his family were conducting his funeral in Sentani.

According to a statement from KNPB General Chairman Victor Yeimo, currently in Abepura prison, “KNPB and family members of the victims are also looking for four (4) other KNPB members that are missing: their whereabouts are unknown or their bodies have not yet been found. Three of the victims carry the Mul surname and the fourth Lambe. We strongly suspect that the police shot them and disposed of their bodies.”

“Until now we are still looking for possible victims of yesterday’s mass action who were most presumably shot and disappeared: in their attempt to disperse yesterday’s demonstration, the Police and the Mobile Brigade fired a lot of shots and they chased many demonstrators towards Buper, the Housing Complex III, Ekspo, until Iyoka and all the way to the edge of Sentani Lake,” said Yeimo.

Up to 15 people were hospitalised from both gunshots and beatings, including a group of three young women from the Yahukimo dormitory who were savagely beaten by police during their arrests.  More reports have also been given that scores of female activists were rounded up and severely beaten by Indonesian police and military officers.

The shootings were under the operational field command of the notorious hardliner Deputy Jayapura Police Chief Kiki Kurnia, Abepura area POlice commander Deky Hursepunny, together with Jayapura Police Chief Alfred Papare, with the Deputy Papua
Police Chief Paulus Waterpauw and Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian allegedly sighted monitoring the situation from their private Kijang vehicles.

Police have predictably launched a propaganda offensive across its tame colonial media networks in West Papua, accusing the KNPB of conducting a riot.  However, stringers for West Papua Media, independent witnesses in the busy Waena shopping area, and KNPB spokespeople have all vehemently denied riotous behaviour by the protesters, instead describing how a peaceful sit-in was brutally dispersed under the orders of a cohort of four senior police officers, who have been personally responsible for ordering significant and ongoing human rights abuses against KNPB members.

Direct Witness to Brutality
A survivor of Tuesday’s violence fled to Papua New Guinea immediately after the shooting, was directly interviewed by West Papua Media  – unidentified for their own safety – and has described how police opened fire without targeting, instead firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

Before the shooting, a mass of people had gathered in the field outside the Expo Waena bus terminal and market in front of the Museum, mainly sitting and chatting while listening to speeches.  According to the witness, police surrounded the gathering on three sides, and the protest leader Buchtar Tabuni attempted to negotiate with senior police present, including the Alfred Papare, Kiki Kurnia and Deky Hursepunny. As it became clear that police were refusing to negotiate with Tabuni, demonstrators agreed to maintain the peaceful action.

According to the witness, Senior police then yelled to the crowd, ordering them to disperse.  However, almost immediately, and without further warning of escalation of the threat, Police commanders ordered the front ranks of police in front of the bus terminal to open fire.

“When the the shooting started, as I was running, I saw the KapolSek Deky Hursepunny and Kapolresta Alfred Papare standing at the gate, directing his police where to fire,” the witness said.

Upon questioning, the witness testified that police initially fired tear gas, but switched very quickly to automatic weapons.   The witness also confirmed that instead of individually targeting demonstrators, police seemed to be firing wildly into the crowd, firing indiscriminately.

Both the order to open fire without warning, and the subsequent excessive use of firearms against civilians are direct violations of both Indonesian and international law.  International Lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Convener of the International Lawyers for West Papua and currently meeting in PNG, told West Papua Media that “This use of excessive force against KNPB members is in breach of international law and Indonesia’s own police regulations on the use of force”.

“This latest incident falls within a repeated pattern of the use of excessive and lethal force by Indonesian police against peaceful activists in West Papua which is indicative of a broader state policy. Continued impunity for the police involved is unacceptable and the failure to punish gives rise to command and state responsibility,” Robinson said.

Many beatings were meted out on KNPB members by Police during the arrests, with allegations that rifle butts were repeatedly used – a standard practice for the Indonesian police against peaceful demonstrators in Papua.

Plain clothes police special forces, described by the witness as “Polisi Preman” (Police gangsters), then continued two days of terror against West Papuan civilians, some in no way connected with the civil resistance movement.  This campaign, at time of writing, shows no sign of lessening.

“We were running across Waena.  Police used many rental cars and were driving around in balaclavas like terrorists, pointing automatic weapons outside their vehicles, and shooting now around Perumnas 1, causing all who could see it to hide in their houses.  At the same time a black Avanza stopped in front of us, followed by white and red Avanzas, pointing weapons at all Papuans present. We ran, because we knew we were about to be shot – we had to seek safety with Indonesian transmigrants, who were unaware of the situation,” the witness told West Papua Media wearily.

“After police shoot the demonstrators, participants fled to the forest.  Police then conducted a brutal sweep, targeting anyone who was wearing dreadlocks, beard, or even wearing sunglasses, and arresting them all,” the witness said.  Civilians have fled in panic, and the witness described Waena as deserted when they fled.  Families of those at the demonstrations have fled to the jungle.  It is not known of normal social functions are continuing, due to the difficulty in getting direct contact with sources in Jayapura.

Our witness reported that two days prior to the demonstration, Indonesian army helicopters were searching extensively around the hills in areas that would be the the first point of refuge for civilian after any shooting.

The witness survivor believes that this indicated that the shootings by police were premeditated and planned, although West Papua Media has been unable to independently confirm this.  However the attacks on protesters occurred just prior to the arrival at Sentani airport of National Police Chief General Sutarman, who has exploited the lack of honest reportage by colonial media to issue more threats against any Papuans who dare dream they can freely express themselves.

“We will take firm action against groups or individuals wanting to separate Papua from Indonesia because Papua is part of Indonesia,” State media Antara quoted Sutarman telling the colonial press in Jayapura.

Tabloid Jubi reported that the Papua Deputy Police Chief Waterpauw has denied KNPB the right to freedom of expression, permanently. ” I made it clear to the group West Papua National Committee ( KNPB ), immediately stop the steps that are likely to violence . Whatever the form of their intention and desire to perform activities in public hearings, (it) will never be given permission or recommendation to implement it , because we know the purpose of the organisation and their desire is clear , (they) want to form a state , split off and so on , “said Waterpauw on Tuesday ( 26/11 ) evening in Jayapura City police headquarters.

An independent international observer in Jayapura contacted by West Papua Media just prior to publication, speaking on condition of anonymity, went even further than the witness now in PNG, stating unequivocally that the crackdown was a “premeditated, highly engineered manufacturing of consent of the type that Tito Karnavian is such a master of, just like his OTK killings.”

“It beggars belief that Karnavian, hoping to please his boss – or more to the point those who would seek to replace the boss with Karnavian – would not be the engine of of a textbook counterinsurgency operation to smash a pesky bunch of separatists.  The only problem is, those separatists are unarmed and were conducting a peaceful gathering.  It looks like the whole thing was organised for a long time.  It is well beyond time those gangsters were held to account,” the observer said, naming Karnavian, Kurnia, Papare and Waterpauw as the perpetrators of massive human rights abuses against Papuan civilians.

The observer added that they saw the gathering just prior to its dispersal and can vouch for the gathering’s peaceful conduct, but was disturbed at the large number of security forces that were surrounding Waena.  “There were at least ten platoons of Brimob, and hundreds of swanggi (ghosts) everywhere, surrounding on three sides the KNPB sitting in a park,” the observer said – confirming maps drawn by the survivor witness.  “They were itching for brutality.  How is this Policing?”

A total of twenty eight people were arrested, but were released by Wednesday night.  KNPB national spokesperson Wim Rocky Medlama told SuaraPapua.com that they are fed up with the police’s actions, which are arrogant and excessive. “This is too excessive. And I think that the police have much to learn. So that they undertake their duties in accordance with the orders”, as quoted in SuaraPapua.com.

Olga Hamadi, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) Papua, also told SuaraPapua that the police’s actions were excessive and the pattern of arrests should stop.

“I’ve only just heard this information. I think that the police are too excessive. Patters of arrests such as this should no longer be necessary. This is included under the rights of each person to express themselves. Moreover this is a democratic country right”, she said in an SMS message sent to Suara Papua, adding that people expressing their views should not be attacked and arrested. “They should be given space. The issue of expressing views in public should not be responded to with arrests and law enforcement. If [the police] are going to be like this it won’t solve the Papuan problem”, said Hamadi.

More arrests
Earlier on Tuesday morning at 8:13 local time. KNPB Secretary-General Ones Suhun was arrested with 6 members of the KNPB (Assa Asso, Okram Wanimbo, Sam Lokobal, Meminda (Mendenas) Sol, Konoru Wenda, and Bonsan Mirin) by Indonesian Police outside the Student dormitories at Putaran Perumnas 3, Waena, Jayapura.  They had just begun to hand out leaflets about the afternoon’s peaceful rally calling for the respect of West Papua’s right to self-determination. Most were released by Wednesday night.

Reports received by West Papua Media overnight from distressed sources fleeing through the jungle have confirmed that a further series of brutal sweeps and raids had occurred all afternoon and evening on Tuesday and continuing through Wednesday, with unconfirmed reports of Puma helicopters being used to find activists.  Hundreds of heavily armed Police were used to raid the offices of the KNPB Secretariat on Tuesday afternoon, also confiscating  all the contents and destroying what was left.

At least thirty more people were reportedly arrested overnight on the 26th, although this has not been independently verified by West Papua Media, however Buchtar Tabuni was moved by his supporters to a safe location.

Across Papua
In Sorong, the KNPB rally was also forcibly broken up by Police, and Marthinus Yohame (regional Chairman of KNPB), Kantius Heselo (Vice chair KNPB Sorong), Natalis Surabut Gebby Mambrasar, Nius Loho and Welem Surabut, were arrested for holding the rally, but were released overnight.

In TImika,  31 people were arrested by a Joint Police and TNI taskforce at Kelly Kwalik’s Cemetery Park at about 8.15 in the morning as they began to gather for their demonstration.  Police also arrested The Chairman of KNPB Region Timika, Steven Itlay and the chair of Mimika’s Parliament, Abihut Degey  while leading peaceful rally in demand the right of Self-determination in West Papua and are being held still at the Police Post, Mile 32. Their names are:
1. Steven Itlay
2. Abihud Degey
3. Billy Hagawal
4. Dony Mote
5. Petrus Bobii
6. Bony Bora
7. Yulianus Edoway
8. Paulus Doo
9. Martinus Pekey
10. Paulina Pakage
11. Agustin Pekey
12. Sony Ukago
13. Daniel Kotouki
14. Seprianus Edoway
15. Argenes Pigay
16. Menase Dimi
17. Timotius Kossay
18. Welius Kogoya
19. Demianus Kogoya
20. Kasianus Kamke
21. Aduart Suruan
22. Melianus Gobay
23. Pais Nasia
24. Makson Kotouki
25. Maria Piligain
26. Markus Entama
27. Yustinus Pigome
28. Sior Heselo
29. Semuel Edoway
30. Agus Itlay
31. Yakonias Womsiwor

Biak also saw its KNPB rally broken up police, with several arrests reported and injuries sustained.  KNPB Biak Chairman Apollos Sroyer reported to West Papua Media that the actions of police were again excessive in preventing a prayer session from going ahead, using scores of police and troops to blockade access to the church.  Police dispersed the crowd later in the afternoon.

In Manokwari, KNPB members were also banned from holding any events in solidarity with the PNG office opening, but were able to negotiate with the hundreds of riot police, and the rally went ahead with several hundred participants, dispersing peacefully after a prayer in the late afternoon.

In remote Yahukimo in the highlands, an action supported by KNPB Yakuhimo in support of the IPWP/ILWP meeting at Parliament Haus in PNG on Nov 27, and FWPPNG office opening in PNG was held in front of the Ruko Putra store.  The action was carried out in face of threats from Brimob officers and a platoon of fully armed TNI of Kodim Wamena 1702 (Battalion 752), and also 15 Kopassus special forces brought in from Jakarta.  They were backed up by a large but unknown number of police from from POLRES Dekei Yahukimo under the command of the local Polresta Eliakin Ap.

The forces presence was was requested by Ones Pahabol, the Yahukimo Bupati (District Head). Ones Pahabol is also the local head of the Committee of the 17th District of the GIDI (Indonesian Evangelical Church), who is considered extremely pro-Indonesian.  According to KNPB sources in Yahukimo, Pahabol’s reason for requesting military support was to break up any KNPB demonstration, and he ordered the dispersal of the KNPB activists because he was prohibiting the expression of the KNPB in public.

However the KNPB reported that even though the local government, police and local church committee refused to give permission for the rally to go ahead, the district head of gidi church did give them permission. However the KNPB commented that it was “as if the church were giving permission to the military to kill their parishioners.  Despite this military threat we give our full support to the IPWP meetings happening in PNG on the 27th – 29th.” said a KNPB spokesperson from Yahukimo.

Media Attacks
Several Journalists were also attacked by police during the Waena dispersal, forcing an apology from the Jayapura police chief Alfred Papare.   Police officers reportedly beat and threatened the journalists at a scene behind the administrative court offices , Waena , Jayapura.  According to a report in SuaraPapua.com, the three West Papuan journalists that suffered intimidation from police, were Aprila Wayar ( tabloidjubi.com ) , Micelle Gobay ( SKH torch Papua ) , and Arnold Belau ( suarapapua.com ), Hengky Yeimo (MajalahSelangkah) as well as a national reporter , Alvarez Oru Maga ( Reuters )

In addition, independent media website Suara Papua has been subjected to a denial of service attack, after they published accounts conflicting from the official police version of the story.  It is believed by many season observers on cyber conflict in Indonesia, that this is the work of a shadowy  cyber- division of the Indonesian police trained and funded by the Australian government, despite the fake outrage generated by the Canberra-Jakarta spy scandal.

In news to hand just before publication, two more bodies have been recovered from around Jayapura suffering gunshot wounds, though it is unconfirmed whether they were victims of the November 26 shootings, or further murders by security forces.

A highly credible source reported to West Papua Media that on November 27 at 3.30pm, a Papuan youth named Ottis Membilang (17), was shot by two TNI soldiers.  According to witnesses, Membilang was standing on the side of the road in front if his home near the Mega store at Waena when 2 TNI members arrived in an unidentified vehicle and shot and killed him for no apparent reason.  This is within metres of the area that West Papua Media’s witnessing survivor of November 26′s violence described troops and police  driving around in Avanzas, wearing balaclavas and threatening to shoot all nearby Papuans.

At the time that the first victim Mathius Tengget was being buried by his family, another body was found at Koya Barat (West Koya), at Wlara Tami near Skouw. KNPB sources have yet to confirmed if the body belongs to one of those missing since Tuesday’s brutality. The Tami River has long been a notorious dumping ground for victims of the Indonesian security forces’ Ninjas, as the river after rain sweeps all bodies far out into the Pacific Ocean into shark infested waters.

More to Come.

West Papua Media