Police torture students after brutal attack on Abepura university dormitory

Scores beaten, arrested, tortured and injured in major raid by Indonesian Police, Army and allegedly Australian Funded counterterror unit Detachment 88 on Yakuhimo Dormitory at Cenderawasih University, Abepura.

by West Papua Media

August 28, 2012

URGENT CORRECTION: Despite robust processes of cross-checking, armed attacks by security forces on civilians sometimes creates confusion on casualty figures.  NEW information has come to hand in the clear light of day, and two confirming witnesses have retracted their confirmation early Wednesday morning.  Only 1 person, Yalli Walilo, is confirmed dead, and he died after being set upon by a group of men believed to be transmigrants or plain clothes intelligence.  The other two victims were part of the group that received significant torture at the hands of police, but it is now NOT independently confirmed if these people are dead or severely injured.  More info as it becomes available.  West Papua Media apologises for the distribution of erroneous information.

(Jayapura)  Brutal scenes occurred at a highland students dormitory in Abepura early on Sunday night (26 August) as a massive assault was carried out on  students from the Liborang Asrama (dormitory)  by a joint force of Army (TNI) and Police.

The students were allegedly targeted because they come from the same tribal group as many members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), who have been consistently engaging in peaceful civil resistance in protest at the increasing terror tactics of the Indonesian security forces, which has escalated significantly since May 2012..

1 person been independently confirmed by West Papua Media sources as killed, and at least two are believed but not confirmed to have died from torture wounds inflicted in custody by police, according to human rights sources.  35 people were arrested, and 11 people remain in custody at time of writing undergoing significant and brutal beatings, and acts of torture.

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Independent human rights sources have alleged that the torture has been carried out by members of Detachment 88, the counter-terror unit funded, armed and trained by the Australian Government, however West Papua Media has not been able to verify this, although D88 has been present at every other dormitory raid this year.

According to credible witnesses the trouble began when a man named Yalli Walilo (26) was calling a friend in front of a shop and the Indonesian transmigrant owner of the shop came and angry him.  Walilo replied to  the colonist “what is my problem, i just want to buy (a) cigarette”.  He then sought refuge at the house of Ms. Nehemia Mabel, a member of the Majelis Rakyat Papua (Papuan People’s Assembly), 5 metres from the shop.  Walilo then tried to go home, when he was brutally set upon by a group of Indonesian transmigrants with one killing him, and more people again came to kick him until he was dead.

The exact circumstances of how police came to be involved is still unclear, but after Walilio’s killing, the Kepala Desa (neighbourhood chief) came and took his body to the Limborang dormitory.  Police were alerted by the Kepala Desa amid confusing allegations surround the death of an elderly man who died from a heart attack.  It is unconfirmed if these deaths were related.

At around 10 pm, Some of Walilo’s friends at the dormitory went to investigate the commotions at the shop, but were ambushed by the large group of transmigrants outside the shop.  The students retreated to their dormitory, known also as the Yakuhimo Asrama as large numbers of Yakuhimo highland students live there.

One hour later, Police and many troops arrived en masse at the dorm and attacked boarders without negotiations, and also severely beat of minors.  Independent witnesses have claimed that men in masks were also present.

Victor Yeimo, KNPB Chairman, told West Papua Media that many students in Asrama Liborang had “already been killed, intimidated and terrorised under Indonesian police troops yesterday (27/08). This morning, I have been in the place and I found how Indonesian police kill and intimidate them. I was there while some of them arrived from Papua Police in Jayapura and we have interview some victims and the chief (spokesperson) of the Students”.

According to Yeimo many police and troops began attacking the Asrama Liborang with tear gas and water cannon (fire hoses?)  inside at 11.00 PM on Sunday night.  Police stormed the building and smashed up facilities inside and arrested, and tormented the students, according to both Yeimo and other independent witnesses.

Yeimo alleged that the “Police talked to them and relate them (make threats to them) about the killing of Mako Tabuni (on June 14) . Police blamed them as being friends of Mako Tabuni.”

On Tuesday evening, Australian ABC television program “7.30 Report” aired an investigation into Mako Tabuni’s killing by Detachment 88, and the intensifying repression of peaceful political free expression by West Papuan activists seek an end to violence and impunity, and a referendum on the disputed territory’s future.  The Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has conceded Detachment 88 is being used on non-violent activists, and has claimed it is acting outside its mandate.

The victims names (at time of writing) are confirmed as:

1. Alex Sambom (Fractured Skull by police. Strangled around neck with metal chains. and repeatedly electrocuted in custody, in critical condition)
2. Usman Ambolon ( Killed after beatings in the head with lacerations and severe contusion)
3. Petru Lintamon ( Police kicked his eyes and head, shot dead with gun)
4. Yaton Lintamon ( Police beat him to death with rubber mallet)
5. Septinus Kabak (Fingernails removed with pliers at the police office)
6. Orgenes Kabak (Beaten severely in stomach, internal injuriess)
7. Awan Kabak (Police stabbed him with bayonets in the leg and thigh)
8. Other Victims to still be identified

More photos, video and information as it becomes processed/translated and available.


Carr must do more on West Papua: Greens



The Australian Greens call on the Government to urge Indonesia to put an end to the violence in West Papua, and commend journalists from the ABC’s 7.30 program who entered the region undercover recently. Their work shines a spotlight on the ongoing abuses of human and democratic rights that are occurring in West Papua, only some 200km to the north of Australia.

“The Australian Government has known full well for some time of the atrocities going on in West Papua, but has chosen to turn a blind eye,” Australian Greens Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“The ABC exposé means Minister Carr no longer has any excuse not to pick up the phone to his Indonesian counterpart and get some answers about what dialogue Indonesian government is having with West Papuan representatives.”

“Along with many Australians, I am very alarmed by the bloodshed of recent months, which adds to the fear experienced by the West Papuan people over many decades of Indonesian rule over their lands,” said Senator Richard Di Natale, Greens spokesperson for West Papua.

“The 7.30 program has managed to gather important coverage of the current situation there, despite considerable restrictions on journalists entering the region. It is crucial that journalists and human rights monitors are allowed access to West Papua.

“Australians are now becoming more aware of these atrocities being committed on their doorstep. They know what happened in East Timor under Indonesian rule and they know that we, as a nation, cannot sit idly by while it occurs again in West Papua.

“The Greens call on Foreign Minister Bob Carr to advocate for a new dialogue between the Indonesian government and representatives of the Papuan people. The indigenous people of West Papua should have the opportunity to decide democratically their own future in accordance with international standards of human rights and the principles of international law.”

“West Papua is a chance for Australia to show real leadership. It is a chance for us to show that we will stand up for the values of peace and democracy we so readily espouse.”

The Greens will introduce a Senate motion during the next sitting period that will call of Minister Carr to raise concerns over human rights abuses with the Indonesian Foreign Minister and request access for human rights monitors and foreign journalists.

The Greens have called on the Australian government to consider its military links to Indonesia and suspend all ties while violence continues, attributed to Indonesian security forces acting with impunity. We cannot stand idly by while this conflict escalates and human rights are being abused on our doorstop.


Father John Dhonga: ‘Level of violence in Papua is getting worse’


Bintang Papua, 24 August, 2012
Father John Djonga has been living and working in the district of Keerom  and is now leaving West Papua and is handing over hist post to Father Ronnie Guntur.On his departure, he reflected on the situation in West Papua where he has been living and working for twelve years.. He spoke about the links he had made during his stay – with the government, with the  military, with the traditional leaders, with the religious leaders and with the people, and spoke warmly about the  support he had received.

He spoke about some development projects that are under way and said that basic problems  continue to exist. He said that in many parts of the territory and particularly in the interior where the indigenous people live, the situation with regard to education and health is very  worrying indeed.

‘These are matters of crucial importance for the dignity and welfare of the people. The issues of justice and equality also are very pressing indeed. ‘These are matters for which the government is responsible,’ he said.

With regard to economic problems, he said that people are losing their means of  livelihood. The forests are being cut down whereas agricultural activities have not  developed which means that the local people are not involved in any productive activities and all the productive work there is benefiting  a small group of people who have been responsible for cutting down the forests and selling off the  land of the people.

He also expressed his concern about the level of violence that is occurring and said that far from this declining it has increased. ‘Both sides, the government apparatus and the people resort to violence to resolve their problems. This never solves anything,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, it only complicates things.’

The people living in Keerom live in a constant state of fear and anxiety . There is no trust at all between the two sides, and the people live in a state of trauma  because of the presence of the Indonesian military in every kampung. ‘This does nothing to  improve relations; on the contrary, it only makes things worse.’

He said that traditional customs were declining and the availability of spiritual support is getting less and less. There are growing discrepancies and injustices between people of the different communities and this represents  a great challenge  to the need for mutual harmony and respect between the communities.

[Translated by TAPOL]


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