Tag Archives: West Papua Media

1 dead, 3 shot in Waghete, Paniai by Brimob for refusing to shave dreadlocks

by West Papua Media team

September 25, 2013

West Papua Media (WPM) stringers have received credible disturbing reports of a major escalation in Indonesian police operations against civilians in the Waghete, outside Enarotali in Paniai, resulting in the shooting of three civilians and the death of one.

Three men were shot by Brimob paramilitary police on September 23 after refusing to cut their hair or beards, and another two were arrested.  Alpius Mote (20) was shot dead by Brimob in the chest and died on the spot.  Fransiskus Dogopia (30) is in a critical condition after being shot with automatic fire by Brimob in his stomach and in the right side of his neck.  The third shooting victim, Alex Mote (29), has unknown gunshot injuries and his condition is also unknown at time of writing.
Police also arrested Frans Bukeja (21) and Yance Pekei (22), also for refusing to cut their hair, according to human rights workers.  Bukeja has been since released by Police, however Pekei is still being detained at the Enarotali District Police Command Post, and his family is gravely concerned for his safety, according to WPM sources.

According to local witnesses, speaking to WPM by telephone on condition of anonymity,  the operations in Waghete occurred on Monday, September 23, with house to house sweeps by hundreds of heavily armed Brimob, looking for any supporters of Papuan independence, and confiscating mobile phones searching for Papuan pro-independence songs and music,  and searching for nukens (dillybags) with any image of the banned Morning Star Flag.

During Monday night’s raids, all Papuan men with long hair, long beards or dreadlocks were allegedly ordered at gunpoint by Brimob officers to cut their hair or beards on the spot or they would be shot dead.  Long hair or beards are stigmatised by Indonesian occupation forces as an indicator of pro-independence activities, and “offenders” are summarily punished regularly in Paniai for their hairstyles, according to local human rights workers, and previous investigations by WPM.

These sweeps have been a weekly occurrence since  Operation Matoa began in late 2011, putting the Paniai regency in a unofficial war zone in a bid to wipe out armed and then nonviolent civilian resistance to Indonesian occupation.  West Papua Media reported in December 2011 on the ruthless Operation Matoa which was launched across the region to destroy the TPN forces of Jhon Yogi – resulting in the displacement of over 14,000 people, almost 150 villages burnt down and the failure of basic services that is still ongoing.

These latest sweeps, local human rights workers who visited Enarotali told WPM, are an extension of Operation Matoa, but Indonesian security forces have openly told sweep targets that nothing less than total loyalty to Indonesian security forces will be tolerated.  Extreme state violence is justified by security forces, to make an example of anyone who questions Indonesian rule, according to the human rights sources.

Local sources have also reported to WPM that a large number of security forces have amassed around Enaratoli together with several companies of the notorious 753 Battalion of  Indonesian army (TNI).  Local residents are preparing to survive another arbitrary military offensive against civilians, according to the sources.

 Several attempts to contact Police in Enaratoli or Paniai in the last 24 hours have been rebuffed.
Westpapuamedia.info

 

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

Oksibil community challenge police in provincial election boycott: allow our free expression or let us fill your prison

January 20, 2013
West Papua Media
Oksibil, Papua (in red square)
Oksibil, Star Mountains, Papua (in red square)
A  January 19 demonstration of over 500 people asserting Papuan rights to freedom of expression defied a police ban on gatherings in the remote town of Oksibil, in the Pegunungan Bintang (Star Mountains) Regency, close to the Papua New Guinea border.  Challenging police to arrest over 500 people, the protest also announced a boycott of provincial gubernatorial elections being held in the regency until January 29.
Credible local sources reported to West Papua Media that local Papuan people had been frustrated with ongoing restrictions on independent Papuan political expression, and were asserting their human rights to free expression despite the risk of arrest.
“(We are here) to express the community’s opinion through a statement from the indigenous community of Papua, in regards to the matter of the blocking of the planned visit by the U.N Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right of Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Mr Frank La Rue, to Indonesia from 14-26 January 2012 which relates to the the decisions of the Human Rights Committee 107 and 108 at the U.N Session in Geneva,” a spokesperson for the local rights group West Papuan Interest Association told West Papua Media via email.
The sources also reported that the gathering was angered by the Regency police chief’s ban on public free expression, and so withdrew their consent and participation to the notoriously corrupt and divisive Indonesian imposed provincial gubernatorial election process.

The WPIA spokesperson told West Papua Media on Saturday afternoon via SMS that a large (but unspecified number) of police were physically blocking the demonstration from occurring, despite the rights to Freedom of Expression being guaranteed in both Indonesian law and also Special Autonomy legislation.

“The WPIA had sent a letter to the Head of Police in Pegunungan Bintang regarding the matter of the above peaceful gathering and advising them it would be carried out at Oksing-sing (in Pegunungan Bintang) on 23 January 2013, and that the group would remain in one location, nor would not disturb the proper order of public affairs or public activities, and would not be breaking any rules,” said the WPIA spokesperson.
“However the Head of Police in Pegunungan Bintang gave a letter in response saying they would not authorise the gathering,” said the spokesperson.
According to witnesses though, the gathered people were determined to go ahead with the planned action.   Speakers said that if the action was prevented from occurring, the entire crowd of over 500 people would go immediately with the WPIA Organiser to the Pegunungan Bintang Police Headquarters.
“They would demand that the Police detain every one of them in the prison until 29 January 2013 after the general Election for the Provincial Governor, and then release them after that,” the WPIA spokesperson told West Papua Media.
Police reportedly backed down after this, though West Papua Media has not as yet been able to independently verify this.
Oksibil historically only has sporadic public events of political free expression, and remote area expressions of political dissent have usually been met with brutality.  For the police to not forcefully disperse a gathering is exceptionally uncommon.
The demonstration self-dispersed without reported incident, and no reports have been received as yet about any reprisal actions from police.
West Papua Media

Buchtar Tabuni released from Abepura prison after completing sentence

Buchtar Tabuni
Buchtar Tabuni Free Political Prisoner Campaign art (artwork: AK Rockefeller)

by West Papua Media

January 19, 2013

UPDATED

Buchtar Tabuni, the Chairman of the pro-independence National Parliament of West Papua, was released unexpectedly from Abepura prison around 12pm West Papua time today, to a waiting group of about fifty of his supporters from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), according to multiple sources.

KNPB News reported that Tabuni sent an SMS message early this morning from prison. “To all the Free Papua fighters in Numbay, Sentani and its vicinity, at 9 this morning please pickup (at) Abepura LP”,  Buchtar’s message read.

13585747651903881475
Buchtar Tabuni upon his release from Abepura prison (19/3) (photo: Melinda Ayomi/Kompasiana)
13585748451388176923
Buchtar Tabuni being escorted (19/3) on long march from Abepura prison to Mako Tabuni’s site of execution in Waena (photo: Melinda Ayomi/Kompasiana)

Local sources today reported to West Papua Media that about fifty KNPB members then escorted a relieved Tabuni from Abepura prison on a long march to the assassination site of his friend and KNPB colleague, former KNPB Chairman Mako Tabuni.  Mako Tabuni was gunned down in broad daylight in a political assassination carried out by Australian-funded and trained Detachment 88 counter-terror officers outside the Perumnas 3 Dormitories in Waena on June 14, 2012, one week after Buchtar’s arrest.  He was also due to be taken to the graveside of Mako Tabuni in order to pay his respects to his slain friend, colleague and clansman.

Tabuni was arrested on 6 June 2012 during an upsurge in mysterious “OTK”  (orang Terlatih Khusus or “specially trained persons”) shootings, and publicly linked by then Papua Police Chief Bigman Tobing to the shootings.  However, according to statements by Tabuni’s lawyer during his criminal trial in September, the entire case was “nothing more than a set up.”

Lawyer Gustaf Kawer said at the time, “Buchtar had been linked to the shooting of Miron Wetipo but that case has already been solved, so it was clear that the authorities were trying to make a scapegoat of Buchtar.”

Tabuni was in custody when more shootings occurred, so “Buchtar was not in any way connected with those shootings. So instead of being charged with the shootings,” said Kawer during Tabuni’s trial, “he now faces the charge  of inflicting damage on the Abepura Prison in 2010, which means that he should have been arrested in 2010.”

In a highly opaque trial closed to independent witnesses, and marked by significant intimidation of journalists by police and court officials, Tabuni was convicted on a charge “for having allegedly inflicted damage on the Abepura prison in December 2011,” and “for exchanging harsh words with prison warders.”

In recent months, Tabuni’s health had suffered from his incarceration in Abepura prison, with complaints of respiratory illness, gastric diseases and dangerously low blood pressure, from his incarceration in atrocious and unhygienic conditions by Indonesian colonial prison authorities.

According to credible sources, Tabuni is spending the next days with family, friends and colleagues from KNPB to mourn the losses of his comrades, and to discuss and consider the next steps in the campaign for justice in West Papua.

WestPapuaMedia

Police fail to provoke violence as demo in Manokwari ignores protest ban

January 18, 2013

by West Papua Media editorial and stringers

Well over 1000 people engaged in a colourful and vibrant demonstration calling for West Papuan independence on Manokwari on January 17, despite Indonesian police banning the march and the display of the Morning Star Papuan Independence flag.

Amid worries of a security crackdown and violence from Indonesian security forces, organisers of the rally reported a generally peaceful event, with participants well-disciplined against reacting over severe intimidation tactics, preferring instead to use music, drumming and free expression to get their message across.

Organised by activists from the former Federated Republic of West Papua, the Manokwari protest saw several groups of singers, dancers and drummers converged at the Sanggeng sports stadium, marching 7 kilometres to the church at Elim Kwawi over four hours.  They were shadowed at all times by at least police to secure the action is over 200 police personnel, 2 truckloads of soldiers, 8 armed motorcyclists, and an extra truckload of elite Dalmas Riot Police (a unit that includes personnel from the Detachment 88 anti-terror group funded by Australia).

To the shouts of “Merdeka!” (Freedom!), and accompanied by 4 groups of drummers and 2 flute bands, over 100 banned Morning Star flags were flown during the march, held high by mama-mama, youth, children and students.  Sources at the march reported to West Papua Media that spirits were high amongst participants due to the music and dancing.

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Speaking from Washington DC, Herman Wainggai, FRWP’s representative to the United Nations, said in a statement that “Over the years, peaceful demonstrators in West Papua have been terrorized, imprisoned and killed by Indonesian military police. Edison Waromi, one of West Papua’s human rights defenders, has been imprisoned for more than 14 years, and we were imprisoned together for two of those years. West Papuan activists Edison Kendi and Yan Maniamboy currently are threatened with 20 years in prison for organizing a nonviolent rally in support of the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in New York in August 2012.”

Wainggai repeated the demand  “that Indonesia immediately and unconditionally free all West Papuan political prisoners and end its military occupation of West Papua. We also request that the UN Special Rapporteur, who is scheduled to be in Indonesia in January, visit West Papua and meet with imprisoned political leaders of the Federated Republic of West Papua, such as President Forkorus Yaboisembut, Prime Minister Edison Waromi, and others.”

International solidarity actions were held outside the Indonesian Embassy to the United States in Washington DC, and also in the Solomon Islands, and Melbourne, Australia.

Rexy Roses, from the new Solomon Islands for West Papua solidarity group, called upon the Indonesian government to immediately release West Papua and Malukan political prisoners, and to respect their rights to free expression.

“More than 50 years of tyranny and immeasurable human rights abuses suffered by the Indigenous people of West Papua at the hands of the occupying Indonesian Military forces is more than too much to bear, it is time now time for dialogue and negotiations to end violence in West Papua and to allow for a peaceful referendum. This year 2013 is going to be a very challenging year and we will make sure that the cries of the indigenous Melanesian people of West Papua be heard in every corners of Melanesia, the Pacific and beyond, it is time for change, together lets stand for the change we want to see in West Papua and Maluku, ” Rexy stated.

Police attempt to provoke trouble

Organisers of the rally had notified Indonesian Police of their rally but the Chief of Police in Manokwari forbade the rally from going ahead, contrary to the rights of peaceful expression guaranteed to West Papuan people under the now discredited (but still active) Special Autonomy legislation of 2001.  However, according to reports from witnesses and our stringers, police stood by and allowed participants to gather, instead focussing their attention on the seizure of Morning Star Flags.

Upon an attempt to formally raise the Morning Star on flagpoles, police moved in and attempted to seize flags, however organisers led by West Papua National Authority Executive Governor of Region II Manokwari Markus Yenu negotiated with police, who allowed the mass to continue after receiving assurances that no flag raising would occur again.  However, outside Biryosi petrol station, police seized flags from a young man, escalating into a tense situation due to the hostility between individual police officers and the youth.

According to West Papua Media’s stringer at the protest, ” the journey became increasingly tense as Police officers began intimidation by beginning to walk ahead (faster) than the rear of the masses,”  whilst in riot gear, using a common riot police tactic of dispersal.

“The Massa (collective group) felt that a scenario was being created by Indonesian police to disrupting the peaceful demonstration and provoke violence. This situation occurred precisely around Copal Sanggeng Manokwari. However our koorlap (Koordinator Lapangan or field coordinator) were able to ensure massa discipline and not be provoked by friction generated by these police officers,” one field coordinator, who cannot be named, told West Papua Media.

The Rally dispersed peacefully around 3.30 pm local time after speeches by West Papua National Authority, Federated Republic of West Papua, and other activists, followed by prayers, with no reports of further intimidation of participants from security forces.

In Yapen meanwhile, security force intimidation and the arrest of seven activists on January 16 in Mantembu village by an Indonesian Army (TNI) unit, prevented the planned demonstration from taking place in Serui town.  Reports received by West Papua Media from human rights sources early in the day described a tense atmosphere with several hundred heavily armed police and army patrolling key protest gathering point.  Unconfirmed reports claimed that a joint police and army unit blockaded roads outside Mantembu village and threatened violence on any potential protest participants.

WESTPAPUAMEDIA