February 10, 2015
Talema Waitipo, a 19-year old resident of the Maam area, Bade District,
Mappi Regency, is currently in a weak condition as he lies in a bed at the Naval hospital in Merauke. He is believed to be the victim of shooting by an (Indonesian Navy) Marine officer, who was providing security for PT
Dongin Prabhawa’s oil palm plantation.
He was shot in the left thigh, the bullet exiting at the back of his leg, and also in his chest. Another man, Yance Doga, is also believed to have a been wounded in the hand by a bayonet. Both are currently undergoing treatment.
A family member of the victim, Bernardus Wuka, related that although he had not been present when the incident took place, several local
residents had told him that Talema had been shot by a member of the
marine corps who was guarding PT Dongin Prabhawa’s operational area. He also believed Yance had been stabbed by a member of the armed forces.
He went on to explain that the alleged shooting had taken place on the
8th February 2015 at around 03.00 local time. Both victims were brought
to PT Dongin Prabhawa’s clinic in Bade District, but as the equipment
there was insufficient to treat their injuries, they were brought to
Merauke to be treated in the Naval hospital.
“Actually the condition of both Talema and Yance is gradually improving.
They will both need treatment for several days more, especially Talema
who was shot. He is still not able to communicate properly because of
the injury he has suffered”, said Wuka.
Jubi has also received information that on 7th February 2015, there was
a birthday party which was followed up by dancing and drinking strong
alcohol. That party continued to the next morning. With several people
under the influence of alcohol there was some friction which ended up in squabbles between the people present.
A few moments later, naval marine officers arrived on the scene, tried
to break up the fight, and fired warning shots into the air. It seems that those shots did not disperse the people, who instead attacked (the Marines) back.
Several hours later, the source continued, there was a search and the
two injured men were discovered. At that moment they were rushed to the company’s clinic to help them. The victims’ families were feeling
unsatisfied and started damaging some of the clinic’s facilities.
Separately, the Commandant of the Merauke Naval Base, Brigadier General Buyung Lalana, made a statement to the press that the initial trigger for the incident was strong alcohol. There had been an event taking place in the Maam area.
Some residents were disturbed by the event because of the drinking, the Naval Commander said, and so combined military and police security forces, including the marines, conducted a patrol. The presence of security personnel was thought to have disturbed and impeded the party.
“There was a group of people under the influence of alcohol, who started making trouble. So one of our members let off some shots into the air. At the beginning they were fighting between themselves”, he said.
He acknowledged that people were injured and had been brought to a
clinic owned by PT Dongin Prabhawa for treatment. “I have received
reports from our personnel that the victim’s wounds were not caused by
gunshots,” he clarified.
Nevertheless, the naval base commander promises to conduct further
investigation. If security personnel have been out of line, action would
be taken in accordance with procedures. On the other hand, if residents
are out of line and want to do something that will disturb the peace of
the majority, that of course would not be tolerated. (Frans L Kobun)
[awasMIFEE note: Obviously further clarification is needed around this
incident, but the indications are of an extremely disproportionate use
of force by military personnel responding to an incident of drunken
brawling. This militaristic approach to local incidents of public
disorder is common in Papua, and is often linked to military or police
mobile brigade employed by plantation companies as security guards. It
is also not the first time that naval personnel stationed in Bade have
violently intervened in local disputes: in February 2014 Blasius
Sumaghai was beaten with rifle butts and hosepipes, leaving him unable
to walk for four days.]