From Elsham News Service, 22 August 2011
On a short journey to his banana garden, a Papuan peasant is killed
Das Komba, 30 years old, left home early in the morning on Friday, 19
August to go to his banana garden, two hundred metres from home to cut
down some bunches of bananas for a family celebration. After filling his
sack with several bunches he started for home but then went back,
feeling that he had not cut down enough. But Das Komba never returned home.
Two days later, on Sunday, search parties were sent out to look for him
and his body was found in a ditch about one km from his garden.
According to information received by Elsham, a local man, TD, left home
by car to go to Youtefa market in Abepura. On the way, about 200 meters
from Arso, several passengers were stopped by a group of men in
military uniform. Two passengers were ordered to get off the bus and
questioned by the soldiers ‘What are you carrying there?’ they were
asked, said TD as he watched the men pulled the goods out of the sacks.
At 7am next morning. WO, 30 years old was about to take his children to
school but when he opened the front door of his home, he was startled
to see about five men outside. When he said ‘Good morning’, the men did
not reply but just stared at him. After returning home, WO went to his
garden which is about 600 metres away, but after walking about 50
meters, he found some leftovers of food and thought that some soldiers
must have rested there to have a bite to eat. He then decided to return
home. WO later said that their clan chief, Fabion, had warned people not
to leave their homes to collect things from their gardens because the
army would be coming there.’But if we dont go to our gardens, we will
have nothing to eat,’ the people said.
A woman, TB, 27 years old, said that on that morning she had gone to her
garden which was a short distance from the garden of Das Komba with her
children walking in front, listening to music on their hand phones, when
they heard the sound of gunfire coming from the direction of Das
Komba’s garden. As they continued their journey, three men in army
uniform appeared and, holding their guns out, said: Where are you
going?’ When she said she was going to her garden, the men told her to
go home. When she arrived home, she told her family that she had heard
shots coming from the garden where Das Komba. was harvesting some bananas.
When Das Komba failed to return home, several people went out to look
for him but they found no trace of him.. All they found was his hat, but
there was no trace of his sacks or his machete. As it was getting dark,
they decided to return home and continue to search on the following day.
On Saturday, 20 August, five members of his family went out to look for
him . All they could see was that banana trees has been slashed down and
the fruit had been trampled on. There were signs that something had been
pulled along, perhaps timber but they didn’t find Das Komba, so they
went home to ask other people to help in the search for Das.
WO then went together with several others to the police station, and
later went together with the chief of the clan to the cemetery , where
they found some empty food cans, a jerry can and a few plastic bags,
which the police took away as evidence.
On the next day, Sunday an extended family from Angkasa and Entrop
Jayapura travelled by truck to Arso, and when they arrived there they
divided into three groups to continue the search for Das Komba. From
there, a group of people climbed a nearby hill and at about 3pm , they
discovered the body of Das Komba which they decided to bury.
Several people then went to the police station to tell the police where
they had found Das Komba. The police went there, dug up the body and
took it in an ambulance to Dok 11 Hospital for an autopsy.
According to WO, Das Kombawas just a simple peasant who was not a member
of any organisation. ‘All he did was to tend his garden,’ said WO,
looking very sad.
Because of this incident, the people of Arso are very afraid to leave
their homes and dont want to go to their gardens to collect food.
[Abridged translation by TAPOL]