Wednesday, April 15, 2020

1) West Papuan family questions military killing of student son and friend

2) Family say men killed in Indonesia's Papua were mistaken for separatists


1) West Papuan family questions military killing of student son and friend
8:22 pm on 15 April 2020  

A West Papuan family is asking questions about the circumstances around the killing of their son and his friend in Mimika regency on Monday.
Media reports from Papua say the two university students, Eden Bebari and Ronny Wandik, aged 19 and 21, were killed by Indonesian military personnel about halfway between the city of Timika and the giant Freeport gold mine.

According to Seputar Papua, authorities claim the pair were part of an armed separatist criminal group and that they were shot dead in a firefight with the military.
But the father of Eden Bebari denies that his son was a member of any such group or that the pair were found with firearms.
Demi Bebari said his family would meet the leadership of the security forces in Mimika, to hold them responsible for the death of their only son.
He said his son was just a child who was in the area fishing with a friend when they were killed.
A spokesman for Indonesia's military said the incident is under investigation.
The killings occurred in the same region around the giant Freeport gold and copper mine where armed conflict between factions of the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesia's security forces has recently escalated.

Noting inconsistencies in reports circulating about the killings, Mr Bebari said the killings must be investigated and the case submitted to a civil court.
He said the family didn't want the perpetrators to be put on trial in a military court but said the National Human Rights Commission should be asked to investigate.

Police shooting in Mamberamo

In related news, three Indonesian policemen were killed, and two others seriously injured during a clash with soldiers in Mamberamo district of Papua province.
The Jakarta Post reports that Sunday's incident occurred when over a dozen police officers went to a military post in the town of Kasonaweja and confronted soldiers after one of their colleagues was allegedly beaten by the troops.

According to a family member of one of those killed, the beating resulted from a heated argument between the policeman and a motorcycle taxi driver who asked the soldiers to help him.
The local police chief reportedly told his men not to retaliate, saying he would resolve the issue with the local military commander.
However, around 20 officers reportedly ignored him and were fired upon when they challenged the soldiers.


2) Family say men killed in Indonesia's Papua were mistaken for separatists
APRIL 15, 2020 / 8:47 PM / UPDATED 12 HOURS AGO
Agustinus Beo Da Costa 

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s military will investigate an incident in the easternmost region of Papua in which two men were shot dead, it said on Wednesday, after rights activists and a family member said the men were wrongly identified as separatist rebels. 
Separatist conflict has simmered in the former Dutch colony since it was controversially incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticized U.N.-backed referendum in 1969. 
The men were killed at a river near the Grasberg mine, the world’s second-biggest copper mine operated by an arm of miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc, after security forces mistook them for members of the Free Papua Movement, rights activist Patris Wetibo said. 

Demi Bebari, the father of one of the dead men, a 19-year-old student, said the two had gone fishing to find food because the nearby markets had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
“My son was in an area for fishing, not for military operations,” he told Reuters, adding that the men were only carrying rudimentary fishing gear. 
Papua military representative Dax Sianturi confirmed there had been a fatal incident on Monday near the Grasberg mine and said it was under investigation. 
Papua police chief Paulus Waterpau said he had visited the family, along with the military commander, to offer condolences. 
“The plan is, after the funeral, we will question members of the task force that directly faced the two victims,” Waterpau added. 
Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman urged Indonesia to withdraw troops from some areas after a recent escalation of violence, saying separatists had offered a ceasefire because of the pandemic. 
“West Papuans have been saying ‘We are more scared of the bullets than the coronavirus’,” she told Reuters. 
President Joko Widodo has worked hard to boost development and build infrastructure in Papua since he was elected in 2014, but has faced criticism for failing to adequately tackle accusations of human rights abuses.

Violence has picked up around the Grasberg mine in recent months, and some analysts say the independence movement has gained momentum under the Widodo government. 
Monday’s shooting comes after a New Zealand man who worked at the Freeport mine was shot dead last month in an attack claimed by separatists that also wounded six. 
Additional reporting by Angela Flassy in JAYAPURA; Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Clarence Fernandez; Editing by Ed Davies

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