Yapen TPN HQ raided by Kopassus as state repression intensifies across remote island

by West Papua Media

May 31, 2012


Intensification of Indonesian security force repression on Papuan non-violent activists and ordinary villagers is allegedly occurring across Yapen Island, in response to escalating demands for freedom from violence, according to credible human rights sources on the island.

A massive raid has also been carried out by Australian-trained Detachment 88 and Kopassus special forces of the Indonesian National Army (TNI) early on May 29 on the jungle headquarters of the Yapen branch of the pro-independence National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM) near the village of Wadapi, Angkaisera district, Yapen.

Yapen Island – in yellow

Local human rights workers have told West Papua Media that many houses had been set on fire after the midnight raids and
weapons were discharged repeatedly by the combined Indonesian military and police force under the command of the Head of
Police (Kapolres) in Serui, Royce Harry Langie S.IK MH, and the District Military Commander (DANDIM), Letkol Inf Tornado.  No confirmed reports of any shooting victims have come to light thus far, however West Papua Media has received credible claims that civilians who fled from the raids into the night may have sustained gunshot injuries from Indonesian troops firing into
houses, though this cannot be confirmed independently.

Reports that local police and military commanders have begun to call in major military reinforcements from across Indonesia are increasing fears of an imminent military assault on local villagers, causing many civilians to flee to forest for safety, human rights sources have told West Papua Media.

Forces from the pro-independence National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM) on Yapen have responded to fears of “all out war” between pro-independence and Indonesian occupation forces and have called for calm, ordering all TPN-OPM taskforces active in the area to not respond with violence to Indonesian brutality, citing concerns for the safety of local villagers, according to local independent local media source Warta Papua.

Local human rights sources have reported to West Papua Media that troops from the Police special forces Brimob and Detachment 88, backed up by Kopassus and Kostrad (Strategic Reserve) troops from Citanjung (Kopassus headquarters in Jakarta) and from Cenderawasih Battalion in Jayapura.

Additionally, Kopassus and Kostrad troops from the notorious Kapuas district, Kalimantan battalion of Kopassus have been deployed with the other units in many villages, in Wadapi, Wanampompi & Sasawalast and several other unnamed villages in the Angkaisera district. “We are very worried, as the addition of troops from Borneo… are known as army troops who are very sadistic in torturing civilians,” a local human rights worker told West Papua Media via SMS.

The joint taskforce troops have claimed to the TNI-owned Cenderawasih Post that they have broken a major TPN guerrilla base, however the only weapons seized were a traditional hunting poison blowpipe, a handful of traditional hunting spears, bows and arrows, two parang knives (used for preparing food), and two banned Papuan Morning Star flags.  These items can be found in almost any rural dwelling in Papua, especially where residents have to supplement their food with animals from the forest.

Several other items were also seized, including cooking and farming equipment, and two 15 year old broken computer printers, which the TNI claimed was proof of a TPN headquarters.

Two men have been arrested and are currently being interrogated by Kopassus and D88 intelligence officers, with the TNI boasting that they are being intensively processed at the Yapen Police HQ in Serui.  Local human rights sources have expressed grave fears for the safety of the detained men, amid credible fears that they will be subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and torture by the Australian trained and funded Kopassus and D88 officers.  At this stage no legal representation has been afforded to the detainees, with one identified as Wanampompi man John Nuntian.  There is also believed to be an unkown number of ordinary villagers who have been detained, and their whereabouts and status is currently unknown.

As the raids were occurring, several hundred TPN/OPM fighters have taken to the forests, and the TNI Dandim, LtKol Tornado, has told Cenderawasih Post that the campaign is intensifying to eradicate all those who are resisting the Indonesian military.  He says that the estimated 230 fighters will be hunted down and the his forces will remain to conduct lightning sweeps on any village that gets named in intelligence investigations.  These sweeps have traditionally subjected all its targeted villages to collective punishment, including mass burnings of houses and collective detention, acts clearly defined as war crimes.

Local sources have been unable to get a precise number of Indonesian combat troops occupying Papuan villages in Yapen, but credibly estimate to be upwards of two battalions of active combat personnel spread across twelve villages (at least 3000 combat personnel from standard battalion strengths – WPM), including specialists from Detachment 88.

Detachment 88 is fully funded by the Australian Federal Police, but the Australian government claims it is not funded to conduct operations against “separatist” or pro-independence forces, despite many documented cases of this occurring repeatedly in Papua. The Australian government has so far refused to make any sanction against the use of these forces in human rights abuses in Papua, instead increasing the budget and equipment it provides to D88.

Telephone communications with sources on the island have been sporadic, raising fears that security forces are restricting the phone network ahead of a major assault, making these reports difficult to verify independently by West Papua Media.  However this activity is consistent with a more aggressive approach taken by Indonesian occupation forces against Papuan independence sentiment.

Indonesian police on Yapen have come under fire for their consistently brutal policies toward Papuan people.  On May 1, thousands took to the streets to call for the expulsion of the Kapolres, Royce Harry Langie, and DANDIM, Letkol Inf Tornado, for atrocious behaviour, human rights violations, and violations of the Code of Conduct with the Indonesian military and police regulations.


German born tourist shot by “unknown persons” whilst on a beach in Jayapura

by West Papua Media with local sources in Jayapura

May 30, 2012

News Article

Pieter Dietmar Helmut being treated after being shot in West Papua on Tuesday May 29, 2012 (supplied – BP)

Questions are being raised again about the willingness of the Indonesian police in Papua to properly investigate suspicious shooting incidents by “Unknown persons”, after a German born Spanish citizen was shot by a sniper and critically injured whilst swimming at a popular tourist beach in Jayapura.

The scientist identified as Pieter Dietmar Helmut (55) was swimming with his wife and some West Papuan friends at Base G beach, when a man brazenly drove up to beach in a silver Avanza car (plate number DS 1852) and shot the man three times in the thigh, abdomen and chest from a distance of ten metres – allegedly with a rifle according to some witnesses, though this could not be independently confirmed.

According to witnesses, who spoke to Indonesian media outlets and West Papua Media, the man was ethnic Papuan, but human rights sources insist that this does not prove that he was a member of any pro-independence forces. Rather, according to a stringer for West Papua Media’s stringer in Jayapura, this proves that this Papuan is able to openly use a vehicle that is easily identifiable and yet receives no punishment for his actions, pointing to the likelihood he is an active member of the security forces.

“The man, who had curly hair and was unshaven abruptly stopped his vehicle near us. He got off the car and shot my husband three times,” Helmut’s wife Eva Mediana Pachon was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.

Eva Pachon has spent many hours with the Papuan Human Rights organisation ELSHAM Papua, and has provided detailed testimony to human rights investigators.  Elsham Papua released a statement that provided testimony from Mrs. Pachon:

Elsham reports that around 10.00 a.m., Dr. Pieper and Eva Pachon were enjoying their day at a popular beach in Jayapura named Base G. It started to rain so most of the other people began to leave the beach. After swimming Dr. Pieper and Pachon packed their bags while waiting for the rain to stop. They intended to head straight back to the city. As they were sitting under a small hut, Pachon noticed a vehicle on a road behind the beach. “We saw a vehicle going by slowly, passing us three or four times. It was an SUV, the car was silver coloured,” said Pachon. The vehicle then stopped, a bearded man—an ethnic Papuan wearing a camouflage jacket and hat—came out and started walking toward them.

Pachon noticed that her husband had been shot only after seeing his body was covered in blood. “The man came near to us, about ten metres away, and then he shot Dietmar [Pieper] twice. I was shocked when I saw him fall and moan, saying ‘I am going to die. I am going to die.’ and I saw blood flowing” she said.

According to Elsham, the perpetrator got back into the car after shooting Dr. Pieper, but did not immediately leave the scene. Pachon thought that the perpetrator wanted to shoot her as well, so she initially ran towards a more crowded area to ask for help, Elsham reported.

“Pachon then returned with bystanders who helped take Dr. Pieper to the Jayapura General Hospital where he underwent a medical operation which lasted 47 minutes. Medical sources and Pachon report that Dr. Pieper had two gunshot wounds—in his left thigh and one on the left side of his torso.  The first shot reportedly entered his back on the left side and went through to his chest on the left side.  The second shot reportedly went through his left thigh.  Medical sources also say that the bullet went through the lungs of the victim, making a hole less than half a centimetre wide.  As of close of business on Wednesday May 30th, the victim is in a stable condition in an intensive care unit.  Four armed policemen are guarding his hospital room,” according to the Elsham report.

A local human rights activist told West Papua Media: “He is being treated in Dok 2 Jayapura hospital. We could not get into the hospital as the police and military, as well as BIN, have forbidden us to go (and) see the victim.”

Indonesian police refuse to identify suspect
Despite the clear identification of the suspect, Indonesian Police in Jayapura have refused to name any suspects, instead blaming “unknown persons”, a well-known euphemism in Papua for highly-trained shooters whose identity is well-known but enjoy complete impunity for their crimes.

Initial reaction to the shooting amongst Papuans widely puts the blame for the shooting at the hands of Indonesian security forces, who are seeking to turn international condemnation by Germany, Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and France against Indonesian human rights violations in Papua. “It is the same tactic that was seen with the US after they suspended arms sales after the East Timor bloodbath, and put caveats on the resumption of military assistance to be conditional on significant human rights reform. When Papuan guerrillas were blamed for shooting US schoolteachers at Freeport in 2002, the Indonesian military was able to use the appearance of a heavily armed insurgency targeting foreigners to get the US to support its militarist aims against Papuan civilians,”  an Indonesian human rights worker based in Jakarta, who asked to remain anonymous, told West Papua Media today.

Dr Eben Kirksey, a US-based Anthropology Assistant Professor with long involvement with Papua, recently published “Freedom in Entangled Worlds”, a book that details a series of covert operations by Indonesia’s Kopassus Special Forces in West Papua. “Undercover Indonesian military agents have a long history of using ethnic Papuan militias to stage violent attacks in West Papua,” said Dr. Kirksey, . “West Papua is effectively off-limits to journalists and the Indonesian military has a history of impunity. A transparent investigation, with international involvement and oversight, must be launched before the trail of evidence goes cold.”

The Jakarta Globe has reported that Civil society groups across Indonesia are also getting more suspicious about military involvement in the shooting. Poengky Indarti, executive director of activist group Imparsial, told Jakarta Globe on Sunday that 13 countries raised the issue during the UN’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva last week, with five of them specifically questioning the government’s inability to capture those responsible for shooting civilians in the restive province.

“Germany, Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and France questioned the Indonesian government on its handling of human rights violations, such as torture of civilians, shootings and killings in Papua,” Poengky told the Jakarta Globe.

“It’s a big question why such a large police and military presence there has failed to result in anyone being arrested for the attacks. Furthermore, their presence in the area has also failed to deter more attacks.”

West Papuan resistance groups, both in the civil resistance movement and the armed struggle, have universally condemned the shooting of Helmut, saying it is yet another in the long list of crimes by Indonesia against Papuans and those friendly with Papuan people.

Victor Yeimo, International spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), said in a statement sent to West Papua Media that the shooting is a conspiracy by Indonesia to deflect Germany’s attention from Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua. “The shooting is closely associated with a harsh rebuke to Indonesia by the UN Human Rights Council within the UN human rights session recently where Indonesian military and police (were criticised for having) carried out violence and human rights abuses in West Papua.”

KNPB had carefully assessed “that the shooting was purely (a) state conspiracy to scapegoat (the) people of Papua for the umpteenth time as the mastermind behind the violent conflict in West Papua,” explained Yeimo.


Civil Society Coalition raises questions about the Shooting of five Degeuwo citizens

JUBI, 29 May 2012
The Civil Society Coalition – KMS – for the Degeuwo case  has once again raised questions about the shooting of five citizens in the illegal mining complex in Degeuwe, Nabire District on 15 May this year.. It has urged the police in Papua to investigate this incident. It added that three members of Brimob had clearly been the ones who had carried out the shooting.

Natalia Magia, a relative of one of the victims, said that the police must investigate the shooting as well as clarify statements published  in various media outlets which said  that  the five people were shot because they had offered armed resistance. Magai said: ‘They had not seized any weapons  which is why we call on the police to clarify what happened.’

The coalition provided a chronology of the events. The five men, Melianus Kegepe, Amos Abaa, Selpius Kegepe, Yulianus Kegepe and Lukas Abaa had gone to a billiard hall  but no one there was playing billiards, so they asked if they could play. However they were told that this was not permitted by someone called Yona because, he said, the lighting was not working properly and it was rather dark. Then  one of the five wnent into the house to get hold of a billiard cue because he regarded Yona as close relative but suddenly Yoga called the Brimob (an elite unit of the police). They arrived very quickly and immediately  started accusing the five men. Harsh words were exchanged and very soon after, some of the Brimob started shooting the five men.One of the five men, Melianus Kegepe was shot dead while Amos Abaa was shot in both legs. and the other three were also hit.

Amos Abaa, Yulianus Kegepe and the other two are now being treated in hospital.

The chairman of BUK – United for Justice – Peneas Lokbere said that this shooting in Degeuwe is nothing new as similar incidents have occurred but nothing has ever been done. His conclusion was that the police are simply not capable  of dealing with those people who are behind these incidents. ‘The only way that the police win the confidence of the people is by having the courage to investigate these incidents.

Yusman Conoras, deputy director of the ALDP in Abepura said what needs our attention is not the shooting of the five men but to find out who it is who is behind these incidents.

The KMS has also called on the Majelis Rakyat Papua and the Papuan Provincial Legislative Assembly to draft a proposal  about the rights of the Degeuwe people who are close to their land which includes land where mining is taking place.The government was also urged to cancel the licences that have already been issued in connection with the mining areas in Degeuwe.

[Abridged translation by TAPOL]

Garda-P calls for all human rights violations in Papua to end immediately

JUBI, 29 May 2012
Jayapura:  Garda-P, the Papuan People’s Democracy Movement, has called on the Indonesian government to immediately halt to all acts of violence and violations of the basic human rights of the Papuan people, which they commit  in the name of the Indonesian State in order to preserve the NKRI – the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.This call was made in response to the statement made by Marty Natalagawa, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, at the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) regarding  the human rights situation in Indonesia which took place in Switzerland on 23 May 2012.

The chairman of Garda-P, Bovit Bofra said: The Indonesian government should arrest and put on trial all the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and those who spread lies about the Papuan people.

In the opinion of Garda-P, acts of intimidation, terror and violence against human rights defenders, lawyers acting for those facing the charge of makar, and student activists in Papua as well as human rights violations continue to be committed by the Indonesian government.

‘The militarisation  in Papua which poses a threat to the security situation and the rights of the Papua people must stop,’ he said.

Bovit also said that there should be access to Papua for  independent observers as well as foreign journalists, so that they can see for themselves the human rights situation in Papua. This is why various human rights institutions as well as a number of countries  tabled recommendations to the  UPR and called for observers to visit Papua to see the human rights situation there.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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