The Papua Military Command, the National Police and the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) have launched an investigation into the deaths of four in an alleged shooting by military personnel during an election dispute-turned-riot in Asmat regency, Papua.
Papua Military Command spokesman Col. Muhammad Aidi said the team had gathered evidence and questioned witnesses.
“We have checked the building [of the shooting], interviewed several witnesses including several perpetrators, examined the evidence and analyzed the crime scene," Aidi said in a written statement on Wednesday.
According to Aidi, three personnel were on duty during a riot at the Fayit district office on Monday: Chief Sgt. Fajar, Second Sgt. Reftob and Second Cpl. Eko. Fajar, wielding an SS-1 rifle, was the only officer armed with a weapon during the incident.
As the crowd entered the office, Fajar fired a warning shot, but the mob reportedly grew violent and cornered Fajar. He responded by shooting toward the crowd, killing four and injuring one, Aidi said.
The victims were identified as Xaverius Sai, 40, Nikolaus Tupa, 38, Frederikus Inepi, 35, and Matias Amunep, 16.
The riot started after a candidate for the Asmat Legislative Council, identified only as JK, allegedly sent around 350 of his supporters, many of whom were armed with traditional weapons, to launch an attack in Fayit district.
JK was said to be unhappy with his party's decision to replace him with another another candidate as he felt that he secured enough votes to obtain a seat in the council.