Forkorus regrets the death of Indonesian soldiers and civilians

[Our sincere apologies for not posting a translation this item of news on the day it was received. Tapol – and WPM] 1 March 2013


Jayapura: Forkorus Yaboisembut, President of the Federal Republic of West Papua, speaking at a press conference, expressed his profound regret regarding the incident in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya  which resulted in the deaths of eight members of the Indonesian army, the TNI, and four civilians which occurred on 22 February 2013.

Whoever it may have been who was responsible for these deaths, it is deeply regrettable. A shooting incident like this can only result in other killings in West Papua , something that has been happening ever since West Papua was annexed by Indonesia in 1962.

‘We mourn the deaths of the soldiers, along with their families, because members of the Indonesian army as well as civilians were the victims . Things like this can happen again tomorrow, next week or next year, when members of the TPN/OPM can be the victims.This kind of thing goes on happening, when victims fall from both sides. Isn’t there a better way, more humane, something more peaceful, moves that are in keeping with our sense of justice, to resolve the basic issue here in the Land of Papua?’

Forkorus said he regretted the fact that the Indonesian government persist in their policy of a semi-military approach, and the continuation of limited or widespread military operations in an attempt to destroy the state of Papua, ever since the declaration of the Trikora Command by President Sukarno, the first president of the Republic of Indonesia  on 19 December, 1961.

Forkorus, who is also chairman of DAP, the Council of Traditional People, accused the Indonesian authorities of being deaf to the appeals for efforts to find a solution to the political and legal status of West Papua by means of dialogue, taking account of the terms of reference set down by the Papuan people at the Second  Congress of the Papuan People in 2000.

Indonesian leaders continue to pursue the policy of military operations, intel operations, attempts to deal with security  and to conduct programmes of economic development and welfare, in an attempt to prevent West Papua from becoming an independent country.

He stressed that Papua must get its political independence while recognising that this is a matter regarding which there is a difference of opinion with the Indonesian government.

H went on to say: ‘We will continue to press the Indonesian government to take the peaceful and democratic way as the guiding principle of dialogue or negotiations with the Papuan people.’

At the Third Congress of the Papuan People they restored their independence based on   the de facto establishment of West Papua. ‘Furthermore, on two occasions we sent pre-negotiation teams to Jakarta , the first in August 2012 , and the second in October 2012, as a follow-up. Despite the fact that there was no response from the Indonesian government, we were hoping that they would acknowledge receipt of our message and our presentation of material for pre-negotiation moves and the conditions under which the negotiations should be held.

‘In 2013, we will continue to take the same approach, so as not to be regarded as trying to sell a cat inside the sack of negotiations. If there is no response from these moves which have been taken in accordance with the principles of decency, peace and democracy, the NFRPB will call for international intervention , as we wait for the process of negotiation to begin.’

‘We sincerely hope that the Indonesian Government will not proceed with its attempts to destroy the state of Papua as was indicated in the Trikora Command, because such an approach can only lead to there being many more victims on both sides along with the intensification of human rights violations of many types. Enough! Enough!’

[Translation by TAPOL]

Yoman rejects the Use of violence

The following is a translation of a statement issued by Socrates Sofyan Yoman on Sunday, 3 March 2012
Jayapura: The chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua, Socrates Sofyan Yoman declared that he does not agree with the act of violence committed at the end of last month in the District of Sinak, Puncak Jaya.During this action, eight members of the TNI, the Indonesian National Army  and four civilians were shot dead by members of the TPN/OPM (military wing of the OPM) while several other people were injured.

Socrates reiterated that as a church leader that he was absolutely opposed to acts of violence.

‘We must engage in a peaceful struggle ,’ he said, speaking at the launching of his book titled: ‘OTSUS in Papua has Failed’

He went on to say that it was not about whether this violence was committed by Goliat Tabuni or anyone else . ‘There have been many acts of violence in Papua since 2004  and none of these incidents have been investigated and nothing is known about who was responsible for the violence. ‘It is said that the are large numbers of intelligence officers  but nothing is known about these incidents. Is this some kind of project that is being defended or what is it all about?’

He said that the only way to deal with all the problems in the most easterly province of  Indonesia  is by means of mutually respectful dialogue, mediated by a third party.

He went on the call on young Papuans, men and women to get on with their education so as to be able to improve their standard of living, to be able to read and write, to become intellectuals, anthropologists , sociologists, scientists. Pursuing education will bring about a major change for the whole population, he said.

His book on OTSUS (Special Autonomy) is 408 pages long and has five chapters, which among others explain the background to  OTSUS which is seen by Indonesia as the political solution for Papua.It also deals with the problem of the obliteration of the indigenous people, crimes committed by the state apparatus, the case of human rights violations on 19 October 2011 as well as the shooting dead of Mako Tabuni on 14 June 2012.

Published by Cenderawasih Press, it is the latest of a number of books written by Yoman.

Yoman was born on 15 December 1969 and is a highly vocal church leader. He also teaches as a number of colleges, including the Theology College in Jayapura.  In October 2011, he had discussions with members of staff of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

‘I will launch my latest book on 6 March, he said, adding that Papuans were not a nation of slaves.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Paniai sweeps intensify misery under Indonesian control as security forces ban music and torture priest

by West Papua Media

March 6, 2013

Local residents in Paniai regency are bracing for more repression in sweep operations by Indonesian security forces after two separate incidents across the Paniai have intensified ongoing crackdowns on West Papuan independence sentiment, torturing a  local priest and even banning the possession of traditional music.

The latest crackdown, imposed in Paniai after guerrillas from Paniai commander Jhon Yogi’s Paniai unit of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) were involved in armed engagements with the Indonesian army (TNI) and Police throughout February .

Reliable human rights sources in Paniai have reported to West Papua Media that an influx of joint TNI and police have “arrived with total war equipment” to bolster sweeps and raids across Paniai against civilians accused of holding pro-independence sentiments.

“In order to confront the TPN PB and on orders from President SBY, a brigade of TNI / Police have arrived with total war equipment. There were drops of TNI/POLRI in Paniai on 3 March 2013. The brigade arrived by 7 ‘Inova’ vehicles via the coast road,” the source told West Papua Media.

Helicopters belonging to illegal gold miners in Degouwo were again being used by Indonesian troops to support the operation, similar to the massive offensive against Paniai people during 2011 and early 2012, according to both human rights and church sources.

“A yellow and white helicopter owned by an illegal business in Degouwo at 13.00 WPB (west Papua time) made two drops of personnel and logistical war equipment. The first drop was to the Enarotali airport in Paniai district, and the second helicopter drop of the brigade forces together with war equipment was at Obano also, in the west of Paniai district,” the human rights source told West Papua Media.

Independent sources are also reporting that Indonesian colonial occupation forces are putting massive pressure on local civilians, with routine violations of civilian’s dignity, and arbitrary strip searches, that have created opportunities for brutality and torture on local people.

The notorious battalion 753 from Nabire has erected scores of “state of emergency tents” every 5-10 kilometres along the main road between Nabire and Paniai, according to witnesses. “TNI are carrying out very strict checking of everything. The TNI from unit 753 are undoing the clothes of every passenger in the area to check them including females. Advocacy and monitoring is requested,” said the human rights worker.

Military Destruction of traditional culture amounting to cultural genocide
Papuan independent media outlet Tabloid Jubi  has reported remarkable accounts of the extraordinary measures Indonesian police commandos from Paniai police headquarters are taking to destroy traditional Papuan culture by banning music.

Father Saul Wanimbo, the Director of the Commission for Justice and Peace (SKP) in Timika diocese, told Tabloid Jubi that during police sweeps, local people are being forced to hand over their mobile phones.  They analyse the memory cards on the mobile phones to find songs in Papuan language, and if the memory card is found to contain either one or many Papuan folk songs, police will smash the memory card with stones, according to Fr Wanimbo.

“The police are sweeping HP (Handphone) memory cards of Enaro society (people) for the last two months,” Wanimbo told Jubi, citing his own experiences and stories directly from Enaro residents from 1-20 Febrruary 2013.  Wanimbo said that Paniai people have been so demoralised that they just accept the oppressive actions of the occupation forces.

Wanimbo said that the actions by Police were killing three values:  “There is destruction of cultural values, murder of the people’s creativity, and character assassination.”

“The situation is conditioned in such a way so that people cannot resist. How can the people fight if the area has a variety of (security force) members lurking there,” Fr Wanimbo told Jubi.  The police acts were morally and legally wrong, police could not arbitrarily violate people’s privacy for no apparent reason, and such actions must be done with a warrant, he said.

“Paniai Police must explain the meaning of this sweeps. Or the Papua Police chief must stop the actions of the Kapolresnya (local police command) men in Enaro. This is serious. We can say it’s the beginning of the genocide, ” he said.

Priest tortured by police who then demand bribe for his release

Meanwhile, again in the Paniai regional centre of Enarotoli, local human rights workers have documented a serious case of torture of a local priest.  According to human rights workers attached to the Kingmi church, at 8.30 in the morning on March 2, Reverend Yunus Gobai (55 years) was arrested, threatened and tortured by local and Brimob commando police at the Enarotali (Kapolresnya) police compound in Paniai district.

According to the report received and confirmed by West Papua Media, as a result of beating Gobai’s nose was bleeding, his upper and lower lips were split and  bleeding, and he sustained abrasions on his hands, swelling on his forehead and cuts on his head, after which he he was put in a cell at the Police Sector command (Polsek) in Enarotali.

Family members went to request his release from the Police station, but the Paniai police demanded a bribe or ransom money to free him, according to the report.  Family members reported they were forced to gather money in order to pay the police, and a Paniai member of the DPRD directly handed over to police one million rupiah (about US$103) at Polsek Paniai.  Reverend Gobai was then released at 1030am local time, and taken straight home to his village by his family, according to the report.

Rev Gobai is the former pastor and head of the council of the community of KINGMI Maranatha Nabire. According to his family, after Rev Gobai became pastor of the community he suffered from (an undefined) mental disturbance together with epilepsy.  Gobai’s family reported that he would regularly be seen “shouting for no reason or running around shouting”.

Reverend Gobai was arrested after exhibiting these symptoms outside the police station in Enarotoli, causing his arrest, but police did not treat the issue as an illness and used unwarranted torture and inhumane treatment on the pastor, according to the report.

(WPM Editor’s Comment: Whilst the KINGMI report uses unclear terminology describing the pastor’s behaviour as “mental illness”, often random outbursts of unintelligible shouting and psychotic visions are perfectly normal and accepted behaviour of Christian pentecostal pastors, Muslim imans, Hindu holy people, and almost all other religious leaders and clerics across human history.  To arrest and torture someone for this behaviour is to ignore the experience of humanity.)

Paniai is no stranger to unrestrained Indonesian security force violence and torture against local people, primarily made up of members of the Mee tribe.  Previous offensives in the  Paniai since December 2011 have displaced tens of thousands of civilians, and burnt down hundreds of villages.  Paniai was the scene of widespread military operations between 1963-1969, 1977-1978, and again in 1981-1982. During this period U.S. supplied Bronco aircraft were used to bomb villages while helicopters strafed Papuans with machine gun fire.

West Papua Media

Papuan mama-mama should attend the Papua Expo in Jakarta

2 March 2013
The director of the Ecology Papua Instutute, Titus Christoforus announced that a Papuan exhibition will be held at the Convention Centre in Jakarta from 3 April. He said that it should give priority to ensuring the attendance of Papuan mama-mama who use the noken (traditional string bag).He said: ‘I hope that the Papuan Provincial Government will give priority to the mama-mama and their noken at this exhibition.’

He went on to say that the exhibition would involve the Regional Work Units and Event Organisers from Jakarta. This means that in the weeks before the exhibition, special attention should be given to the involvement of the mama-mama.

He also said that this OTSUS exhibition should pay special attention  to the workmanship of people like the mama-mama who lack capital but are very eager to produce their handicrafts. He pointed out that the noken was identified by a cultural object at a meeting in Paris on 4 December 2012. ‘This makes it all the more important that the mama-mama together with their noken should be involved in the exhibition,’ he said.

Such handiwork depends greatly on how we encourage it, which means that the mama-mama should be involved in the exhibition in Jakarta, he said.

He also said that the noken has become much better known and popular, and it should be presented to the public as a symbol of the identity of the Papuan people.

In conclusion he said: ‘I hope that this exhibition will provide the mama-mama with the maximum motivation and that they should be provided with the necessary facilities for the advancement of their craft.’

[Slightly abridged translation by TAPOL]

Strange conduct in the Pastor Frederika murder trial

from our friends at

Sunday March 3rd, 2013

Investigation by Oktovianus Pogau

There is much that is strange in the process of the trial over the killing of Pastor Fredrika Metalmeti (38) on November 21st 2012 in Boven Digoel, Papua.  The conduct of Military Tribunal III-19 Jayapura gives the impression of protecting the shooter. What is this process? Read below.

On November 21st 2012, a dark history began for the big Metalmeti and Imogoti families in Boven Digoel province and Merauke province, Papua, Pastor Frederika Metalmeti (38), first child of George Metalmeti (68) and Ida Imogoti, was found horribly killed on the Trans Asiki road, Boven Digoel, Papua.

Terdakwa oknum anggota TNI, Sertu Irfan (kanan) sedang mengenakan topi (Foto: Oktovianus Pogau/SP)
Unscrupulous members of the military, Defendant Sergeant Irfan (right) is wearing a hat (Photo: Oktovianus Pogau / SP)

Initially, at around 6:00am, the Head of Komba District, Manyu Waremba (46) together with his wife and child came to the scene of the crime, and found the victim’s body lying in bushes, near the Trans Asiki Road.

“My house is about 200 metres from the scene, early in the morning around 3:30am I heard someone calling for help accompanied by the sound of gunfire. Because I was scared, I intended to investigate in the morning together with my family” said Waremba, in Military Tribunal testimony Dock 5, Jayapura, 11th February 2013.

Waremba immediately reported his discovery of the corpse to three police officers on guard at the police post not far from the location of the body. The three police officers together with local residents eventually came to the scene. Indeed, the body of the woman lay bloody, motionless and stiff.

“After this I called the police station and together with local people we went to the scene, and we found the victim sprawled in bushes with much blood on her body” said Manggaprouw, member of Boven Digoel Police, in their testimony at the Military Tribunal, Jayapura.

Then, the Boven Digoel Police Chief immediately arrived at the scene, accompanied dozens of his men. When attending the crime scene, police found three pieces of ammunition, type FN 45, that were still active.

A pink helmet, belonging to the victim, was also found, as were jeans (denim) shorts. The victim’s shirt was opened to cover her face, which was a men’s shirt reading ‘Kwarcab Digoel District Scouts’.

At approximately 8:00am, police took the body to the Regional General Hospital for autopsy.

Before this, several nuns were asked to bath the victim who later became known to be Frederika Metalmeti, Pastor of the Bethel Church of Indonesia (GBI), Boven Digoel.

The nuns who bathed the corpse claimed to find three gunshot wounds on the victim’s body. The first of these shots on the side right of the head, the second on the left of the chest, and the third on the victim’s right arm.

According to the nuns, the face and back of the victim’s head had been shattered by a blow from a blunt object. Allegedly, the accused wanted to erase the remains of the gunshot wound on the victim’s head.

To determine the perpetrators of the shooting, the police summoned parties believed to have been close to the victim for questioning. There were seven witnesses from the Metalmeti family that were interrogated by Boven Digoel police.

One witness that was summoned was the victim’s younger sister, Helen Metalmeti (30). In testimony to the investigator, Helen told of all she know of the victim whilst she lived, including whom the victim was close to.

“Mr Lieutenant Colonal Eko Supriyanto, former commander of 1711/Boven Digoel, who now serves as the Head of Korem 174/ATW Merauke, was the person most close to the victim.  We know that my sister was dating him, and Mr Eko had come to our home to announce it,” said Helen, when meeting with recently in Jayapura, Papua.

According to Helen, the relationship between the former Commander of 1711/Boven Digoel and the victim could be said to be very close, as there was an intention to hold a wedding in Malang, East Java, the home region of the former commander.

Whilst the Boven Digoel police were investigating the case which scandalised the residents of Boven Digoel, the Indonesian Military (TNI) in District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel also conducted an investigation into several of their men.

In Boven Digoel district, no entity, including the Police and the Special Forces Task Force, has arms of type FN 45, except for members of the TNI Intelligence Unit, District Military Command 1711/Boven Digoel.

“After the Boven Digoel Police Chief Commander called the Dandim (Regional Military Commander), I together with several members also visited the scene to see the victim’s body, but because it had already been closed off by police, we could not enter,” said Captain Riki Pelani of District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel Intelligence unit, when giving a testimony to the Military Tribunal on 19th February 2013.

According to Captain Riki, after knowing of the discovery of ammunition type FN 45, all men of the District Military Command 1171/Boven Digoel Intelligence Unit, totalling 12 people, were gathered to investigate each weapon.

Because, he says, if one has just recently been used to shoot with, then when smelt there will be the smell of smoke at the end of the weapon.

“I ordered First Sergeant (Sgt) Sumarlianto to gather all of our men’s guns, and after this I, together with (the) Dandim, investigated all of their guns in the room. Only the gun of Sgt Irfan was very clean and shiny because it had been cleaned with oil,” said Captain Riki.

According to Captain Riki, since then both himself and Dandim suspected Sgt Irfan as the culprit, as it also became known that Sgt Irfan was close with the victim for the past few months.

“We also received news that indeed Irfan was close with the victim. Dandim ordered us to hold Irfan, and First Sgt Marlianto and I were ordered to investigate Sgt Irfan,” asserted Captain Riki.

Then on November 22nd 2012, at 8:00am after morning assembly, Sgt Irfan was detained in the intelligence room and examined until 6:00pm that afternoon.

“Sgt Irfan did not confess during the questioning. At a meeting with Dandim at 7:00pm that evening, we received a report that Sgt Irfan had escaped.” said Captain Riki.

The escape strengthened the Dandim’s and his suspicions that the person who shot Frederika was Sgt Irfan, so he spread his men to several places to arrest Sgt Irfan.

During two days of searching, the members did not find Sgt Irfan. On the third day, 25th November 2012, he received news that the culprit was hiding in transit, in the Sudirman family home.

“Together with Dandim, several men and I immediately headed to the hiding place of the accused, and we immediately arrested him, and then took him to Korem 174/ATW Meruake for further investigation,” said Captain Riki.

Later, on his way to Korem 174/AWT Merauke. Sgtt Irfan confessed to the shooting of Pastor Frederika Metalmeti, on 21st November 2012.

How is the investigation of the accused progressing with the Police/Military in Merauke? Are the families being informed of the latest of the case investigation? Why did Sgt Irfan recklessly kill Pastor Frederika so sadistically?

Part 2 of this investigation will soon be presented.

Oktavianus Pogau is an independent Papuan journalist and founder of indigenous media outlet

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