by Nick Chesterfield at westpapuamedia.info
November 5, 2011
Indonesian army (TNI) commandos have terrorised and severely beat villagers in Kurulu District in Puncak Jaya in another show of extreme brutality against West Papuan civilians.
Soldiers from the Kostrad (Strategic Reserve) Battalion 755 stationed at the Kurulu army post stormed the village of Umpagalo, near Wamena, on the night of November 2, breaking up a meeting and severely beating 12 men, including 3 West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members.
This comes after a series of violent events across Papua in recent months, and just hours before a horrific attack on a student in nearby Wamena town, when Yusuf Hiluka (23) was set alight with glue by two officers from Satpol PP (Satuan Polisi Pamong Praja), the district civil security unit.
According to local activists from KNPB, in a chronology provided to West Papua Media, villagers were holding a peaceful gathering and discussions about local tribal and community issues, and the elections to be held for the Hubulu area Tribal Council (DAP or Dewan Adat Papua).
Local human rights sources claimed that the attack happened after a Kurulu villager, who reportedly drank and gambled with members of the pro-Jakarta militia Barisan Merah Putih, falsely reported to soldiers that a squad of TPN/OPM guerrillas were in the village. From the Area Security post a platoon of Kostrad troops, an elite Commando unit from Jakarta, descended on the village in full battle gear and proceeded to terrorise villagers by opening fire with machine guns as they arrived.
From 11pm local time Kostrad soldiers rounded up and tied all the elders and young men, according human rights sources, and subjected them to a humiliating torture and beating in front of their wives and children. Then men were beaten with rifle butts to the head, and whipped across their face and backs using rattan canes. Soldiers then proceeded to “stampede” on the detained villagers, according to the chronology, telling the victims when holding bayonets to their throats “”watch out, your neck will Decide”. Women in the village were also hit on their heads by the soldiers, according to the witnesses.
It is also alleged by local human rights sources that the soldiers opened fire at least four times, shooting into the air, and also stabbed four people with bayonets. Furthermore, the sources allege that some victims were tortured by being hung by a hook for 2 hours, and then immersed in water for one hour. After this torture, victims were allegedly taken to 755 Battalion branch Kurulu Wimanesili Wamena for 2 hours. The exact identity of those particular victims have not yet been provided.
Melianus Wantik, Edo Doga, Mark Walilo from KNPB Wamena, and Pilipus Wantik, Kosy Wilem, Elius Dabi, Lamber Dabi, Othi Logo, Nilik Hiluka, Hukum Logo, Martinus Mabel and Saulus Logo, all from the Umpagalo village., all were injured by the TNI operation at the village.
Photographs supplied to West Papua Media and Tapol appear to show significant beating injuries, and several deep tissue injuries caused by Indonesian troops.
As the soldiers left around 2am, villagers dispersed to the police station in Kurulu and summoned help from the Indonesian police, who refused to assist. Local human rights sources allege that the TNI performed the operation andconducted arrests without a formal letter of Command authorisation and was therefore illegal, and by torturing acted illegally and inhumanely. Torture is an offence under Indonesian law, however it is rarely punished when carried out by security forces.