Sunday, 30 August 2015

2 Soldiers arrested for the shooting of civilians in Papua

Two members of the Military District Command (Kodim) 1710/Timika have been arrested following a shooting in Koperapoka, Mimika regency, Papua, that left two civilians dead and two others wounded.

The two soldiers, First Sgt. Arshar and Chief Sgt. Makher, were detained by the military police sub-detachment XVII-I/Cenderawasih.

“[If] both are guilty they have to be held accountable for what they did. They will undergo the legal process,” the commander of 174/Waning Ap Merauke, Brig. Gen. Supartodi, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The incident occurred on Thursday at 1:33 a.m. local time. The dead victims were identified as Imanuel Mailmaur, 23, and Yulianus Okoare, 23. The injured were named as Marthinus Apokapo, 24, who suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen and Martinus Imapula, 25, who was shot in the leg.

Supartodi alleged that the soldiers were drunk when the shooting took place. 

So far two versions of the shooting have emerged. The first version was in the form of a press release by spokesperson for the Military Regional Command (Kodam) XVII/Cenderawasih, Lt. Col. Teguh Pudji Raharjo.

According to the release, the soldiers shot in self defense as a mob attempted to seize their weapons after an attack on Makher. However, the press release gave no reason as to why the mob attacked Makher.

The release said that upon receiving a report from locals about the attack on Makher, Ashar went to the scene to look for his colleague but was attacked on the way, beaten to the ground and attempts were made to take his weapon, whereupon he opened fire and the four civilians were shot, two fatally.

Santon Tekege, a pastoral staff member at Timika Diocese, denied that any attempts were made to grab the soldiers’ guns.

According to Santon, the shooting occurred when two drunk individuals — who were later identified as soldiers — arrived at a tifa (traditional drum beating event) in the yard of Koperapoka Catholic church, the tifa was being held as a thanksgiving party for the first person of Kamoro origin, Leonardus Tumuka, to earn a doctoral degree.

“They [soldiers] were refused admission and they left. Shortly after they returned, carrying rifles with bayonets and frightening the people who were celebrating,” Santon said.

The two men forced their way into the venue and threatened people at the party. Later as they were leaving they opened fire, killing two and injuring two others, he said.

Papua Police chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw is currently in Timika to maintain order in the area.

Coordinator of the Papua office of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), Olga Helena Hamadi, said she had received frequent reports about civilians being shot by members of the security forces in Papua.

“It’s a classic [response] to say that the security forces personnel fired in self-defense,” said Olga, adding that the excuse was often used in such incidents.

Separately, Pastor Amandus Rahaded said the bodies of the victims were being kept in Koperapoka Catholic Church. No date has been scheduled for their funerals. “Their families are still having talks and waiting for the arrival of the Kodam Cenderawasih commander,” Amandus said.

The two bodies had previously been paraded to the Kodam base and placed in the middle of the street. They were moved to the church only after negotiations were held with the Papua Police chief mediated by Amandus. -

Jakata post.

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