Densus 88 shoot and arrest KNPB leaders near Wamena as tensions rise

Hubertus Mabel  (Photo via Buktar Tabuni)
Shooting victim believed to be either Hubertus Mabel or Natalis Alua (CONFIRMED PHOTO; unconfirmed identity) in Wamena hospital, 16 Dec 2012. Both Victims died from their wounds by sunset, according to human right reports.  (Photo via Buktar Tabuni/KNPB)

compiled from reports of  Tabloid Jubi, Victor Mambor and West Papua Media stringers in Wamena

December 17, 2012

A West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activist has been killed, and a farmer has died from his wounds in hospital, after being shot by members of the Australian-trained anti-terror unit Detachment 88 outside Wamena on December 16, following raids that arrested at least six activists on Sunday morning, according to multiple sources.

KNPB activist Hubertus Mabel (aged 30) died shortly after being taken by police to Wamena hospital after the shooting at 1030am in the village in Milima (or Kugima) in Kurulu district outside Wamena.  Local farmer Natalis Alua (34) died in coma in hospital after being shot in the same incident, according to latest reports from human rights sources in Wamena.

According to journalist Victor Mambor, at this time Hubert was still alive and this was confirmed both by the police and Victor Yeimo (National KNPB Chairman).  “Police told me that Hubert was shot in the leg at 09.30 (morning). Hubert was taken to hospital by police and then died at the hospital because of loss of blood….  At 6 (afternoon), Hubert claimed by police died in hospital.”

Hubertus Mabel's body being prepared for burial, late December 16, 2012 (photo: KNPB/ West Papua Media)
Hubertus Mabel’s body being prepared for burial, late December 16, 2012 (photo: KNPB/ West Papua Media)

“Some peoples  in the Kugima Village, the place where Hubert was shot, told us police entered the village in full force. They brought two people who had been arrested before (Meky Kogoya and Wene Gombo) to the village to tell them where Hubert lived.”

Hubertus Mabel (Photo: KNPB)
Hubertus Mabel (Photo: KNPB)

At 9am, the same joint police/army and Densus 88 squad conducted a armed raid in the village of Kosi Hubi Holima, in Wamena.  KNPB Wamena Chairman Simion Daby was arrested with human rights activist Baroy Sambon, Meki Jikwa (Kogoya), John Huby, Pie Huby, Herae Huby, and Ima Mebel, allegedly at the house of Meky Kogoya, who was accused by police of being responsible for a bombing incident in Wamena.  They were all taken forcefully by police to Jayawijaya police headquarters.

It is believed that human rights worker Sambon was arrested as he was trying to alert international media to the situation, but this has not been verified.

The KNPB have repeatedly denied involvement in planning or carrying out acts of violence or bombings in Papua, a view supported by the Churches, human rights organisations and legal networks in Papua.  Police have yet to provide any credible evidence that shows their involvement, despite millions of dollars being provided to Densus 88 by Australia for forensic evidence analysis.

Alleged TPN retaliation questioned
There have been reports of an alleged West Papuan National Liberation Army (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional or TPN) retaliation against police over the shooting of Hubertus Mabel, but human rights workers have cast doubt on the involvement of TPN forces, instead accusing Indonesian security forces of acting up to continue to create a false scenario for conflict.
According to a report in Tabloid Jubi, the sound of gunfire could still be heard up to 11pm on 16 December in Wamena.
‘On 10.25pm, there was an exchange of fire between the TPN-OPM (the military wing of the OPM) and the TNI/Polri , Indonesian army and police, somewhere between Misi Market and  Sinakma, Yusodarso Road. The situation in Wamena was said to be tense and there were calls for help,’ according to a local report as quoted by Jubi.A local resident, Yason, confirmed reports of the sound of gunfire which was still continuing. It is alleged that this was in response to the shooting of Hubertus Mabel.  Another local resident named Vita told JUBI that the local police station had been burned down in response to the shooting of Hubertus Mabel. According to Vita, ‘Mabel and member of the KNPB was shot by the security forces as he was suspected of a bombing the Wamena, which led to the police station being burned down.’The local police chief later confirmed to JUBI that there had been an exchange of fire, but West Papua Media was unable to find any witnesses or evidence that any armed TPN unit was in the area.

However long time human rights worker Markus Haluk told West Papua Media that local  investigators had been visiting witnesses and have compiled a chronology that sits at odds with this account.  According to Haluk, at around 8pm local time, a number of drunk people set fire to one market stall at Pasar Misi/Bungsu.  Haluk also reported that at 11pm local time, police arrived on the scene with the Deputy Chief of Jayawijaya Police and opened fire with a barrage of shots, all from one side, with no clear target apart from civilians who had gathered.  Police then moved to the Dewan Adat Papua offices less than a kilometre from the scene, and set fire to them in retaliation, despite the burning market stalls having no connection to either the DAP leader or council staff.

Markus Haluk said that the “Alleged drunks burning kiosks in the market (is) scripted by the security forces to divert attention from the arrests and shootings of civilians and KNPB activists, and is a conscious Scenario consciously to burn the office and create psychological pressure against the leaders and members of the Papuan Customary Council Lani Pago Baliem Region.”

Local human rights workers believe this latest round of security force misbehaviour is due to the payment to the new Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian (former Densus 88 commander) of Ten Billion Rupiah (approx US$1 million) from the Papuan Governors office, for the provision of “Phase 2”  security for the Papuan Gubernatorial Election campaign, which was also earmarked to maintain a peaceful environment in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Many parties are upset with these incidents,” said Haluk. “For catching, shooting in Wamena occurred on Sunday, when people were seeking to church to worship. While the arson of the DAP offices were do middle of the night, when the community was quiet for the night, ” he explained.

“On receipt of the funds, the Papua Police Chief conveyed the importance of maintaining the security and peace of Christmas and the election of Governor. Instead, he led police officers making arrests, shootings and arson of Balim Traditional Council offices,” an exasperated Haluk told West Papua Media.

These arrests come amidst a major series of operations by Indonesian security forces across Papua on the anniversary of the Densus 88 assassination of legendary TPN guerrilla leader Kelly Kwalik on December 16, 2009.  Heavily armed Densus 88 personnel, including an unidentified Australian man, were seen to be guarding Kelly Kwalik’s tomb to prevent a memorial service from being held to commemorate the anniversary of Kwalik’s extrajudicial execution.

Papuan homage (16/12) to tomb of murdered OPM General Kelly Kwalik, blocked by heavily armed intelligence personnel (note Buleh Densus 88 advisor)
Papuan homage (16/12) to tomb of murdered OPM General Kelly Kwalik, blocked by heavily armed intelligence personnel (note Buleh Densus 88 advisor). (Photo courtesy Beni Pakage)

Also, in news from the Paniai, Brimob paramilitary police have reportedly shot and captured Yakobus Utii in Enarotoli on Sunday, alleging that he was a senior figure in Jhon Yogi’s TPN command.

West Papua Media

Papuan Baptist Church: “Indonesian Security Forces Must STOP Committing Crimes Against Humanity in Papua”

Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua


1 November 2012

The Central Body for the Fellowship of Baptist Churches are very concerned about Indonesian security forces towards God’s people in Papua. The cause for this concern came after General Kelly Kwalik killed in Timika on December 16, 2009 by Joint TIM – TNI, Indonesian Police, BRIMOB and Detachment 88, and Musa Mako Tabuni, Chairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) were killed by Detachment 88 on June 14, 2012 at Waena, Jayapura,  Papuans are confronted with strange and uncivilised events such as a bomb discoveries, bombings, and the arrest of Papuan civilians on suspicion of possessing ammunition throughout the entirety of Papua.

Examples include:

  • The bombing of the parliament Jayawijaya building on 1 September 2012 at 02:15 WIT by OTK;
  • the throwing of bombs at the Jayawijaya police station traffic on 18 September 2012 at 20:55 WIT;
  • the discovery of a bomb in Timika, Friday, October 19, 2012,
  • the discovery of three bombs in Manokwari on October 9, 2012.
  • Explosion of three homemade bombs in Sorong on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 22.00.

As of October 30, 2012 there has been the discovery of 7.62 calibre ammunition in as many as 9 points, 5 TJ 5.6 bullets in as much as 121 points,  5.6 servant bullets in 20 points and the arrest of four youths known by the initials DIH (26), a resident of Organda, YP (28), a resident Sampan Timika, AK (24) a woman, a resident of Organda, and YJW (27) a Karubaga citizen. (Cenderwasih Pos News, Wednesday, October 31, 2012).

On Wednesday, October 31, 2012 and the Papua Regional Police arrested a civilian with the initials OG (27) for the alleged possession of Jayapura PTC ammunition.

From the whole combination of “scenarios” and engineered changes that feature indigenous Papuans as owners of ammunition and bomber gives the VERY clear impression of a SYSTEMATIC STRATEGY being applied by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia through the power of the security apparatus with multiple objectives, agenda and targets, namely:

  • A systematic effort to thwart the Papuan demands to work towards a peace dialogue;
  • Systematic efforts to destroy and criminalize peaceful struggle for self-determination rights (the right to self-determination) of the people of Papua;
  • A systematic effort to make the peaceful struggle for independence of Papuans become known as “terrorists”, so that the international community does not support the struggle of the people of Papua, and the Indonesian security forces instead become supported with funding from the Government of the United States and Australia, which has been instrumental in training and sponsorship of Detachment 88 to fight against “terrorists” in Indonesia.

All ammunition and bombs which have been found and detonated were not owned and operated by indigenous Papuans, but there are several false owners, suppliers and urgers of young Papuans to give truth to the “justification” that those involved in the  struggle of the people of Papua are in fact criminals and “terrorists”.


  • The entire Papuan society, migrants and indigenous Papuans, do not easily believe that the bombs which were detonated and found, and ammunition recovered from the hands of indigenous Papuans is not true. because the struggle to find justice and political rights for the people of Papua is found through peace, which has already been shown to be true, and not through violence, which would only be a backwards change.
  • The security forces of the Republic of Indonesia must stop committing crimes against humanity by an engineered situation of bombs and ammunition discovery at the houses of indigenous Papuans.
  • The Government of the Republic of Indonesia immediately open a space for an unconditional peace dialogue between the Government of Indonesia and the Papuans, mediated by a neutral third party, as a political solution to the Special Autonomy has FAILED to answer the complexity of the issue of Papua. Peaceful dialogue with the following conditions:
    • Immediately release all political prisoners such as Filep Karma, Forkorus Yaboisembut and friends unconditionally.
    • Immediate withdrawal of all non-organic troops, which are not balanced by the number of indigenous Papuans.
    • The Government of the Republic of Indonesia immediately allow access for foreign journalists and humanitarian workers to visit Papua.
    • The Government of the Republic of Indonesia immediately inviting and allow the United Nation Special Rapporteur to visit Papua.


The Central Body for the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua,

Sofyan Yoman Socratez

Strange Birds in Paradise Album / DVD launch (Melbourne, Australia) Northcote Social Club. Sunday August 14.


A West Papuan Soundtrack.



Buy Tickets Here

“Music can rise above tyranny”

“Art is a weapon and culture is life, as long as they can sing they will prevail.”

Film-maker Charlie Hill-Smith on the plight of the West Papuans

in their fight for independence from Indonesia

 “The music of West Papua is unique and intoxicating in and of itself; having it on our radars is a true privilege. And Bridie’s always interesting western-meets-world interweaving commands rapt attention regardless, but in the context here that is all important… For the recording of Strange Birds, five West Papuan singers and musicians joined Bridie in Melbourne, and it’s difficult not to listen to their haunting renditions of these outlawed songs without wondering what the consequences might be for them. Try to imagine, if you possibly can, The Drones making a record overseas and then never being able to return to their native country under penalty of death because of it. As outlandish as that sounds, this is probably the fate that awaits the performers here, and, naturally enough the record takes on a complete new dimension because of it. Bridie has been quoted as saying that this record “stands alone as an album of cultural and political significance”. In any other situation, this might sound immodest. Here, though, it has the ring of absolute, undisputable truth. Will there be a more important record made this year? I highly doubt it.”

(Tony McMahon, Inpress)

On Sunday August 14 from 1-5pm, the soundtrack and DVD to the powerful and award winning political feature documentary Strange Birds in Paradise will be launched at The Northcote Social Club.

The afternoon of music will include performances from Vika and Linda Bull, The Black Orchid String Band (featuring Leah, Petra and Rosa Rumwaropen), David Bridie, Phil Wales, Black Cab, El Witeri (The Red Eyes), with appearances by MC’s Lehmo and Greg Fleet. These and other acts yet to be announced  join a distinguished line up of Melanesian performers, showing their support for the freedom movement in West Papua – an issue that garners less international attention than that given to the fate of Indonesian livestock.

While the Indonesian army continues to dominate the indigenous inhabitants of West Papua, the making of this album saw five West Papuan musicians and singers gather in Melbourne to record the outlawed folk songs of West Papuan freedom fighter and musician Arnold Ap with Australian musician and film composer David Bridie.

In Strange Birds in Paradise, David Bridie interweaves his original score with the songs of Ap, carried by the remarkable voices of West Papuan performers Hein Arumisore, Jacob Rumbiak and Gillius Kogoya, and features musical collaborations with Airi Ingram and Phil Wales. These artists will also come together for the launch, joined onstage by West Papuan musicians Ronny Kareni, Frederick Yawandare, Adrianus Birif, Anselmus Pisakai and led by West Papuan leader Jacob Rumbiak.

The launch will celebrate and recognise of the work of Arnold Ap, as well as political hero Kelly Kwalik – both assassinated for bringing controversial folk songs to the people of West Papua and the world. The day will shed light on the rich musical history intrinsic to West Papuan culture, simultaneously raising awareness of the struggle faced by West Papuans, our closest neighbours, and the atrocities occurring daily in a political climate of greed, corruption and genocide.

Of the CD, Bridie says “Not just a soundtrack, Strange Birds in Paradise stands alone as an album of cultural and political significance, putting West Papua’s extraordinary music talent firmly on the contemporary music map, in the Pacific region and beyond. There are a lot of political refugees from West Papua living in Australia, and this launch is for them as much as it is for those residing in West Papua.”

Strange Birds in Paradise is an album which engages with the unique music of West Papua and champions a community who will fight to keep their cultural traditions alive in the face of extreme political oppression and widespread genocide.

Watch video from Strange Birds in Paradise soundtrack here


What: Strange Birds in Paradise Album Launch (alongside official DVD release)

When: August 14, 1-5pm

Where: Northcote Social Club, Victoria

Tickets: $18 Presale / $22 on Door / (Concession available at door only – $15) /


Purchase on ITunes

Land Of The Morning Star Clip from Strange Birds in Paradise

This is first video clip off the Strange Birds in Paradise: A West Papuan soundtrack CD;

Music compiled by David Bridie, featuring Arnold Ap songs and singing by Hein Arumisore, Donny Roem and members of Tabura.

Video directed by Charlie Hill-Smith.

Strange Birds in Paradise – A West Papuan Story  
While the Indonesian army continues to dominate the indigenous inhabitants of West Papua, three friends gather in Melbourne to record outlawed folk songs with renowned Australian rock musicologist David Bridie.  DVD AVAILABLE NOW

Strange Birds in Paradise: A West Papuan Soundtrack

Release Date: 10/06/2011
Catalogue No.: W0003
Record Label: Wantok Musik
Format: CD
Buy Here:

This is the soundtrack to the film by Charlie Hill-Smith, with music by David Bridie & Arnold Ap, sung by Hein Arumisore, Donny Roem, Kelly Kwalik and Jacob Rumbiak. It is a journey more than 250 West Papuan cultures, the interviews paint a picture not only of a country with a rich musical tradition and breathtaking nature, but also of a country weighed down by Indonesian military oppression. While the Indonesian army continues to dominate the indigenous inhabitants of West Papua, three friends gather in Melbourne to record outlawed folk songs with renowned Australian rock musicologist David Bridie.

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