ABC: West Papuan village torched in unrest

By Brigid Andersen

fixed by West Papua Media

Updated December 05, 2011 20:43:45

Reports from West Papua claim Indonesian anti-terrorist police have torched a remote village amid clashes with guerrilla rebels in the region.

Activists say civilians have fled into the jungle in response to the unrest and there are now grave fears for their safety.

Media is strictly controlled in the region, making reports hard to verify, but it is claimed that Indonesia’s Gegana Brimob police unit attacked the village of Wandenggoback, in the Papuan highlands, in response to the shooting deaths of two police officers on December 3.

The two Indonesian police were reportedly killed earlier in the day during an offensive launched by the militant Free Papua Movement (OPM) and the anti-terrorist brigade responded by setting fire to schools, a church and houses in the village.

Reverend Benny Giay from the Papuan Christian Church in the province’s capital, Jayapura, says he has spoken to school teachers and young people who are among those who fled Wandenggoback.

“The police mobile brigade burned the church, schools and houses of the people and people have fled to the bush. They’ve become local refugees,” he said.

“It is in response, according to the military and the government sources here, to the two police who were shot.”


He says there are concerns for the safety of the villagers who have fled and are now hiding out in the rugged highlands.

“Some have run to a neighbouring district. Some we think they are in the bush and we are worried that they may get sick and even die out of starvation,” he said.

“What we are worrying about is that [the Brimob] have been doing this, they’ve been terrorising people, people are fleeing the villages and people are dying in the bush out of sickness.

“We are worried that this will continue to be the military’s [tactic] to kill Papuans off.”

Mr Giay says Indonesian authorities have blamed OPM guerrillas for the death of the two police officers, but he says that claim needs to be investigated.

“We are saying as a church to make sure, if the government allows human rights NGOs to go there and do an investigation so we can find out who made the shootings which killed two policemen,” he said.

Security crackdown

On December 1 West Papuans marked 50 years since the province declared independence from Indonesia. Rallies were held in many areas and the province’s banned morning star flag was raised.

Nick Chesterfield, editor of West Papua Media, says they are getting reports from villages around Wandenggoback of a security crackdown in response to the independence ceremonies.

“The reports that we’re getting at the moment are that Indonesian security forces have been rampaging in areas near Nulia and that people are fleeing to the hills in the area,” he said.

“The district of Pagalome is now quote ’empty of humans as all have fled’.

“We’ve got a lot of difficulty getting strong verification up there because it’s been reported to us that troops are controlling all the roads out and any places that you can get a phone signal.”

People have no ability to grow food up in the mountains; they have fled with whatever they can carry, so there are grave fears.

Nick Chesterfield, editor of West Papua Media

Mr Chesterfield says as many as several thousand civilians could now be hiding out in the jungle.

“There have been instances in the past where up to 10,000 people have hidden out in the mountains for up to three months,” he said.

But he says there is little food and shelter for those who have fled.

“There’s not much cover in the highlands. Where people will be fleeing is to the mountain peaks,” he said.

“This is the monsoon time, so the the nights are a little warmer but the conditions are atrocious. People have no ability to grow food up in the mountains, they have fled with whatever they can carry so there are grave fears.”

Following developments

Indonesia’s anti-terrorist police receive training and funding from the Australian Government.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it seeking to verify the reports from Wandenggobak.

“The Australian Government deplores violence in all its forms. The Australian Embassy in Jakarta follows closely developments in Indonesia’s Papua provinces and is seeking to verify reports of incidents around Wandenggobak in the Papuan highlands,” the Department said in a statement.

“Australia continues to urge Indonesia to investigate thoroughly any allegations of human rights abuses and to hold perpetrators to account and welcomes president Yudhoyono’s commitment on November 19 to take legal action against any security forces personnel who commit human rights abuses.

“The Australian Government does not train or fund Indonesia’s security forces to counter separatism.”

West Papua has seen several instances of unrest in the past few months, with Indonesian military and police blamed for killing three activists in August and arresting hundreds more.

Shots were fired and a number of West Papuans were also arrested during independence ceremonies on December 1.

Topics: unrest-conflict-and-warworld-politicspapuaindonesia

First posted December 05, 2011 20:21:12

Villagers flee to Papua’s forests fearing further Police attacks

by Yason Sambom

Edited by West Papua Media

December 5, 2011

[West Papua News with additional reporting from West Papua Media] – About 110 residents of Berap and Genyem villages, near Lake Sentani in Papua, have been forced to flee to the forest after Indonesian Police terrorized the village on November 30 in retaliation for an incident in which two officers including the head of Criminal Intelligence were injured.

Indonesian media have reported the bow and arrow attack on the police officers as an unprovoked attacked by National Liberation Army Guerillas, but independent media sources have been provided information that show that the shooting occurred in self-defence.  Ordinary villagers from Berap were attacked by Brigadier Ridwan Napitupulu and his colleague Budi, who were allegedly drinking heavily despite claiming they were patrolling to seize any Morning Star flags that were to be raised on December 1

The correspondent for West Papua News, a local citizen media outlet, met refugees  who testified the chronology of events in Berab-Genyem Village, in Nembukrang District.  Villagers were shocked by acts of terror carried out by two plainclothes Police intelligence officers, who arrived after drinking in the village on Suzuki motorcycle No. F6611BT Police.  The two officers carried out an armed robbery of a young man who was calling his wife on a mobile phone, demanding to know who the villager was speaking with.  According to the chronology recorded, the following exchange occured:

Police: “. You call what?, In the village you bring any activists?

Victim said, “I do not know”,

“In the village of Berab, would you raise the Morning Star flag?” asked the two policemen who then marched the young man into the village.

After being brought into the Berab, the two drunk officers immediately allegedly pushed and almost hit several young villagers on night patrolling duty.  The young men did not accept the officers’ pushing them, so they chased on foot the two officers to the Blue River (Kali Biru) tourist sites.

Both officers felt besieged by the youths and the panicked villagers, and fired warning shots that narrowly missed a youth PK, who then tried to beat the officer to stop him shooting.  At this point, an unidentified person allegedly shot Napitupulu in thigh with a traditional hunting bow, hitting the officer in the thigh, allegedly severing an artery.  He then escaped by diving in to the Biru River, that carried him clear.

Local human rights sources are investigating the claims further

Ridwan’s colleague, Budi, ran away and hid in foliage overnight, only emerging on December 1 when light amidst the arrival of senior officers and an armed platoon.  Budi was allegedly observed by witnesses lying to his superiors who were chastising him, saying (according to the witnesses) “I was surrounded and beaten villagers because they want to grab a weapon”.

Police then conducted a sweep operation through the village, causing many to flee.  The six villagers that were captured by Police were identified as:
1.Ruben Manggo (Berab Village Head),
2.Thomas Tarko (Member KNPB Tabi),
3.Zet Manggo (Member KNPB Tabi),
4.Yonathan Tarko (Member KNPB Tabi),
5.Joseph Manggo (Member KNPB Tabi),
6.Kalfin Tarko (Member KNPB Tabi).
The six were interrogated at the Jayapura police headquarters.  Of the six victims, Berab village Head Ruben Manggo was released by police officers on Friday at 13:00 WP with injuries from severe beatings, and is being cared for in Berab village.
These conditions make citizens feel threatened because of the mental-psychological trauma for several years in a state of trauma due to forces that normally act without compromise to act arbitrarily and brutally against village residents.This makes the act itself displaced villagers in order to save themselves from the property and their lives were shot dead drift alias.
This event took place amidst security force repression after the Third Papuan People’s Congress on October 19, 2011.  The subsequent crackdown legitimized a deep sense of trauma after the declaration of the Federal State of West Papua by the Chairman of the Tribal Council (DAP), Forkorus Yaboisembut, SPd,.  Yoboisembut as President of the Federal State of West Papua, had called for peaceful resistance on December 1, 2011,  by flying the Papuan Morning Star flag across all the land of Papua.
These conditions are making citizens feel threatened and living in a state of psychological trauma for several years, due to the arbitrary and brutal behaviour of security forces acting without compromise against villagers.  This has caused villagers to flee to the forest where they are living without access to security, displacing villagers in order to save themselves.  The refugees have had to abandon all property and are greatly anxious for their future.
Abridged report from West Papua News

STOP PRESS: has reported that Napitupulu died on Monday morning in Youwari hospital, Sentani, Jayapura.

National police spokesman Sr.Comr. Boy Rafli said that Second Brig, Ridwan Napitupulu died on Monday at 00:35 Indonesian Eastern Time after being treated at the hospital for three days. He added that the body would be brought to his family’s home in Medan by Garuda this afternoon at 12:20, reported.
Police have named three suspects in the case, Thomas Tarko, Yonathan Tarko, and John Calvin Tarko.

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 December 2011 09:31

Academic condemns lack of NZ coverage of West Papua crisis

Police arrest a man after breaking up a pro-independence Morning Star flag-raising ceremony in Timika, Papua province, on December 1. Photo: Muhammad Yamin / Photoblog

Sunday, December 4, 2011

ADELAIDE (Pacific Media Watch): A media academic specialising in Asia-Pacific affairs condemned New Zealand news coverage on West Papua and other Melanesian issues at a journalism education conference in Australia this week.
Professor David Robie, director of AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre presented a paper called “Creative Commons and a Pacific media ‘hub’” in which he offered four recent case studies, including a scathing criticism of NZ media coverage about the Freeport mine strike and brutal crushing of a peaceful Papuan People’s Congress by Indonesian security forces with the loss of up to six lives in October.

“The barriers to free reporting are perhaps a contributing factor to the almost negligible reporting in New Zealand news media of West Papuan issues, apart from occasional snippets about the Freeport mine,” he said at the annual Journalism Education Association of Australia (JEAA) conference in Adelaide.

“A major exception has been Radio New Zealand International, which with very limited resources compared with its Radio Australia cousins, doggedly provides coverage on the legacy of armed struggle in West Papua and Bougainville.

“A major problem is that for the international community the issue of West Papua is ‘settled’ and it is accepted as being an internal problem for the Indonesian authorities rather than an issue of ‘decolonisation’.

Although the so-called 1969 Act of Free Choice had been a “stage-managed sham” by Indonesia after it had invaded the former Netherlands colony bordering Papua New Guinea and was widely condemned as the “Act of No Choice”, most media in Australia, NZ and the Pacific currently virtually ignored the issue, he said.

It was left to international news media agencies to report on developments in West Papua – often from at a distance and their reports failed to gain much traction in the media of the region.

‘Shameful’ reporting
“It is shameful that the NZ and regional news media fail to cover the ongoing human rights atrocities and disturbances with the seriousness they deserve,” he said

“The ongoing West Papua crisis is a greater threat to Pacific security than the Fiji issue.”

In a content analysis of a two-week period between the start of the military crackdown on October 19 until November 2, 2011, it was found that Pacific Scoop published 66 percent of the total of 99 news stories carried by main NZ news media websites about the West Papua crisis.

Pacific Journalism Review published a media freedom report by Dr Robie and Pacific Media Watch contributing editor Alex Perrottet in the October edition which strongly covered West Papuan media issues.

(cc) Creative Commons

Indonesians open fire as Papuans raise outlawed flag

Flag raisers in Timika to go on trial + Three persons accused of torturing police declared suspects.

Bintang Papua, 2 December 2011
Flag raisers in Timika to go on trial
Three persons accused of torturing police declared suspects
.[The article is illustrated by a photo of the chief of police in Papua, Police Inspector-General   BL Tobing waving a small poster.]

Jayapura:  Five people who were  involved in a Morning Star flag-raising incident in Minika are due to go on trial, while the police say they are interrogating another five people to be called as witnesses, according to the public relations chief at a press conference in Jayapura on Friday.

The five were named as: Larius Dolame, Norbertus Timang, Marel Magai, Eli Maiseni and Marinus Pigai. The five are being interrogated by the police in Mimika, and the following items of evidence have been seized: one wooden pole,  two Morning Star flags and a knife.

The day before, at around 11am, hundreds of people gathered on Timika Field to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Papuan Independence. According to the police, they did not have a permit to do so, or to hold prayers in celebration of the the anniversary.

As the crowd assembled, they unfurled one flag on the pole, and used another two flags  in a dance  and to run round the field. According to the police, there were no casualties during the security operations there.

{ Note: West Papua Media has a list of names of people who have sustained gunshot wounds – they are: Fero (Veronika) Anggaibaik; Viktor Wamang; Alpinus Uawang;  Jemago Elas; and Hilary Piligame}

{in A separate incident} Police identified three persons as suspects for torturing  a member of the police force in the district of Nimbokrang, Jayapura. The police chief told journalists on Friday that 15 people had been traken into custody, of whom three have been declared suspects and will go on trial before a court. They will face charges under Article 214, para 2 of the Criminal Code for resisting state officials while on duty, facing a possible five-year sentence. The three were identified by their initials, TT, YT and JKT. and are currently in police custody.

The director of the Bhayangkari Hospital  told journalists that police officer Napitupulu was in a stable conditions. ‘His condition has improved. Yesterday an arrow that had pierced  his thigh was removed and injuries on his face had been cleaned.’

The police chief said that the security situation in Papua after 1 December was conducive, especially as the month of December is when the Christian community will  be celebrating Christmas.

According to Markus Haluk, chairman of the Association of Highland Students , AMPTI, six people were injured by gunshots and were being treated at Timika Caritas Hospital . However this was denied by the public affairs spokesman of the police of Papua. ‘No one was shot,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, five of our members were wounded,’ he claimed.

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