Report compiled by Selpius Bobii in Abepura
September 26, 2013
On Monday 23 September 2013 in the town of Waghete which is the main town of the region (kabupaten) Deiyai (district Tigi) at 11.30 am local time, an action of violence by the Indonesian armed forces causing death and bloodshed of unarmed civilians occurred. The incident arose as a result of arbitrary sweeping carried out by joint forces of Paniai based BRIMOB (‘Mobile Brigade’ being an Indonesian National Police special operations force unit), Paniai regional Police together with Indonesian military Unit Timsus 753 (TNI) based at the Paniai Koramil (Regional military headquarters). The sweeping was carried out under the command of the Head of the Paniai Regional Police High Police Commissioner Sammy Rony.
The target of the sweeping which included confiscation of items was as follows:
- Sharp weapons including smaller knives, larger (machete type) knives, axes and bows and arrows;
- Hand shovels;
- Mobile phone cards for checking of any activist photos or other photos related to the Papuan Freedom movement such as the Morning Star Flag;
- Civilians with long dreadlocks or long beards, who are all suspected by the Indonesian armed forces of being members of the TPN/OPM (these persons were to be detained).
During the sweeping the Police detained 15 people based on nonsensical reasons, and at this time they are all incarcerated in the jail cells at the Paniai District Police Command headquarters. These include a female by the name of Alfrida Dogopia. They were detained under conditions of torture, intimidation and insult carried out by the TNI Timsus (Tim Khusus or Special Team unit from Kopassus special forces)unit, BRIMOB and Paniai regional police.
The local community responded to the above by protesting to the local police. The Head of the District Police commanded those under him to shoot any civilians that protested to the operation. Accordingly BRIMOB, ordinary police and the TNI joint forces responded to any behaviour of protest by civilians with extremely excessive violence by shooting civilians. The consequence was 3 civilians were shot by members of BRIMOB in the Waghete field (open grassed area in the town) at approximately 11.30 am local time.
The shooting victims were as follows:
- Alpius Mote, a student at the Deiyai Upper Secondary State School in Waghete, child of the local Church Minister Daud Mote. He was shot dead. The bullet entered on the right side of his chest and went through exiting his back.
- Alex Mote, a youth from Deiyai was shot. He is presently being treated at the Paniai Hospital.
- Yance Pekey, an English Teacher from the Deiyai State Upper Secondary School. News is that he was shot and beaten at the school offices and at this time is being detained at the Paniai Police District Headquarters.
The local community didn’t accept the actions of the joint armed forces and considered them to be extremely excessive. The body of the shooting victim was taken to the police offices by community members at 19.00 hours and the police were asked to take responsibility for the death. Until this moment the Waghete community is still struck by fear by the events that occurred.
According to the Head of the Paniai District Police High Police Commissioner Sammy Rony, the sweeping was carried out to make the area safe for civilians and intended against those who were in the practice of gambling, getting drunk and carrying sharp instruments. According to Rony property of local government was damaged as a result of the drunkenness. He said the disturbance had started five days before the shooting incident. “Since last Wednesday a group of people have done damage to a number of houses of government officials in the town of Waghete, including that of the Deiyai Region Bupati (i.e. Head of the local regional (kabupaten) government) Dance Takimai and of the Kabupaten Secretary Basilius Badii” stated Rony. He claimed that the damage to the officials’ houses was suspected to have been carried out by a group of supporters of a certain candidate for the bupati position that failed to be elected in the recent elections for the head of the Deiyai Kabupaten. “So in this there is an influence from alcohol and also problems regarding local elections” Rony stated to a journalist from Tempo, Jerry Amona.
According to the Head of the District Police Command the alleged culprits of the damage to the officials’ houses who were also suspected of intentionally starting the commotion at the time of the mobilisation of the joint police and Indonesian military armed forces to carry out the sweepings through the town of Waghete. “ Suddenly a group of people arrived and attacked our forces, hitting them with pieces of wood. I immediately gave the order to shoot” he stated (source: m.tempo.co/read/news/2013/09/23/058515978).
According to the spokesperson for the Papuan Provincial Police AKBP Sulityo Pudjo Hartono, the conflict between the civilians and the joint armed forces occurred at the moment the sweeping was being carried out to “make the area safe from a number of social sicknesses including gambling, drunkenness and carrying of sharp implements”. According to Hartono, the civilians didn’t accept the raids and there was even provocation with civilians throwing rocks at the armed forces, who responded by shooting into the air. However according to Hartono, the civilians were becoming increasingly anarchist even to the point that one of the military was hit, so the joint forces fired in the direction of the civilians shooting one civilian. Hartono stated that the citizen shot critically aged 25 years was evacuated to the Paniai hospital, however he died before arriving at the hospital.
The spokesperson for the Papuan Provincial Police tried to justify the act of the police from a legal perspective, stating that the shooting of the forces was in accordance with procedure as the civilians were increasingly anarchist. He said if they hadn’t fired the actions of the civilians would have developed into something bigger (source: www.news.viva.co.id/news/read/446352-bentrok-aparat-dan-warga-di-papua–1-tewas).
However the a local activist at Waghete, Yohanes Mote, contradicted the statement of the Police that the community attacked the joint armed forces. According to Mote, the community did not attack the police (BRIMOB and ordinary regional police) and TNI with arrows, wood or otherwise, but rather it was the police and TNI carrying out the sweeping with excessive use of agression that caused the disturbance amongst the community.
“I was there at the location at the time it happened. The community was not using arrows and did not attack in any way. We were disappointed about the way the police were carrying out the checking operation to the point that they were even checking inside the koteka (i.e. traditional penis sheath worn by males) of men. As there can be nothing possibly inside a koteka other than the male genitals. So why did they have to check inside the koteka? We want to ask why did the police not confiscate and ban the drinking of alcohol and gambling! It’s the alcohol and gambling that kills Papuans but they (armed forces) didn’t ban those, but rather acted to annihilate our people” Yohanes Mote, human rights activist in Waghete.
To respond to this bloody tragedy, youth and students of Papua in Jayapura have united to form ‘In Solidarity and Concern for the Shooting of the State Upper Secondary School’ and carried out a demonstration on the office of the Papuan Parliament (DPRP) on 25 September 2013. The student demonstration was received by the Chairperson of Parliamentary Commission (A) Ruben Magai together with a member of Parliamentary Commission (D) Nason Utty, where the students demanded the Head of the Indonesian National Police to remove from office the Head of the Papuan Provincial Police, the Head of the District Police in Paniai and the Head of the Sub-District Police Command, being those 3 persons being responsible for the Waghete incident. The students also demanded that those responsible for the shooting be forced to face transparent legal process and strongly urged the Papuan Parliament to immediately form an Investigative Team to look into the case at hand. Together with a number of representatives from the student demonstration the DPRP this date formed an Investigative Team for the Bloody Tragedy at the Kabupaten of Deiyai. It is planned that in the immediate future that this team will travel to Deiyai to gather accurate data from all parties involved at Deiyai (source; www.sindonews.com/read/2013/09/25/26/787221/gedung-dprd-papua-diduduki-mahasiswa).
In regard to this same incident, the community demanded that the Head of the Paniai Kabupaten Police who gave the instruction to shoot at the civilians and the member of BRIMOB who carried out the fatal shooting be required to face legal process as they have both committed serious human rights violations. It was requested that the Head of the Indonesian National Police that the Head of the Tigi Kecematan (i.e. Sub-District) Police, the Head of Paniai Kabupaten Police and the Head of Papuan Provincial Police all be stood-down from their positions as they were all assessed as not acting responsibly.
It is also hoped by the community together with the youth and students that the Deiyai Case Investigative Team that has been formed by DPRP in Jayapura would go immediately to the District of Tigi in Waghete to gather accurate data that can be trusted in relation to this incident.
Reported by: Selpius Bobii, General Chairperson – Front PEPERA –
(NOTE: WPM HAS CONFIRMED ALL FACTS IN THIS REPORT)
- 1 dead, 3 shot in Waghete, Paniai by Brimob for refusing to shave dreadlocks (westpapuamedia.info)
- Student shooting in Deiyai, Human Rights Activists Ask the Chief Perpetrators and Evaluation Uninstall Police in Papua (netarumtelebe.wordpress.com)
- Indonesian police open fire on civilians in West Papua (theguardian.com)
- Violent Occured In Deiyai , A Citizens Dead Shoted by Police Force (witnesseshometownwpng.wordpress.com)
- Police Kill Civilians in Indonesia for Refusing to Shave Beards (intellihub.com)
- Chronology, military / police Damaged Door Church St sacristy. Mary Magdalene in Paniai (thevoiceofwestpapua.wordpress.com)
- Mixed success for Papuan Cultural parades despite by pre-emptive arrests across Papua (westpapuamedia.info)