Nick Chesterfield, westpapuamedia.info

Tuesday, October 5, 2010: Evidence is continuing to emerge from Wamena, in West Papua’s Highlands, that a shooting of unarmed community security guards by Indonesian police on Monday was a extrajudicial murder by Indonesian Police.

According to witnesses interviewed by a local human rights investigation team, Ismael Lokobal, the coordinator of the Balim Petapa (unarmed community security security guards formed by Dewan Adat Papua), was shot whilst trying to seek shelter from indiscriminate police shooting at the DAP Balim Lapago office about 1 km from the police station.

Amos Wetipo and Frans Lokobal were shot when police opened fire after they refused to get down from a police truck outside the Wamena North K3 Police station.  Wetipo was shot in the head by police standing at the back of the truck, bullets also striking Frans Lokobal in the wrist.  Both men suffered from heavy blood loss according to witnesses, and Amos Wetipo is reportedly in a coma.

The shootings occurred after unarmed Petapa members went to the police station to seek and explanation for the unauthorised seizure of a box of berets for Petapa uniforms, and Rp40 million in cash. No Petapa paraphernalia that was seized contained any banned items or symbols so there was no reason for its seizure.  Human rights sources reported to westpapuamedia.info that Petapa members felt the seizure was heavy handed and repressive, and refused to leave the police station without an explanation, when police emerged firing assault rifles directly at the gathered crowd without any verbal warnings or warning shots.   Indonesian media have incorrectly reported that the Petapa members had attacked the police station causing an officer to be injured, but this is untrue.

Petapa was formed by the DAP in July after a series of violent incidents carried out by security forces and transmigrant militia members, and had been providing a visible peacekeeping security presence for mobilisations on peaceful demonstrations, which though allowed under Indonesian law are almost always dispersed with force by security forces.  Whilst they have been trained in physical self defence, a significant part of Petapa’s training has been on non-violent conflict resolution.  Petapa are not mandated by DAP to be anything but a defensive security guard.

The Baptist Church of Papua is deeply disturbed by the continued violence meted out by Indonesian security forces in the highlands, and had called for the police to take responsibility for their actions.   “The barbaric behavior of this state apparatus is not human. Security forces should not shoot and kill civilians for any reason and or ideology,”said  Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman,  President  of the Baptist Church of Papua.

“Violence and the killing of God’s people is not the way the settlement but creates new more difficult problems.  The unity of the Indonesian state (NKRI) can not be managed and maintained in with violence and spilling people’s blood,” Yoman said.    “The shooting shows that the people of Papua are not safe in the land of their ancestors.  The security forces should be responsible and do not quibble with blaming civilians,” explain Reverend Yoman.

Local human rights sources are calling for an immediate, open investigation by Komnas HAM (National Human Rights Commission), with international monitoring, and the the police officers guilty of shootings to be charged with murder and sentenced appropriately.

The situation in Wamena is extremely tense on latest information, and demonstrations are likely.  Local human rights sources are calling for the Indonesian security forces to exercise restraint and professionalism.


A Preliminary report in Bahasa Indonesia contains photos of the dead, injured and arrested men (not of their deaths and arrests) and a full chronology.  is available for download here: KRONOLOGIS PENEMBAKAN ANGGOTA PETAPA DI WAMENA

More photos and reports to come.


Comments are closed.