West Papua: Indonesian Police shoot man at Indigenous Peoples rally

Media Release                             Sunday 10 August 2008

West Papua:  Police shoot man at Indigenous Peoples rally

Reports today confirm that it was the Indonesian Police who shot the local man Opinus Tabuni yesterday at remote highland city of Wamena in West Papua.

The UN World Indigenous People Day event where the shooting occurred, was attended by 20,000 West Papuan people, who had travelled mostly from the Baliem Valley and neighbouring highland areas.  Many visiting community leaders from other regions of West Papua attended the rally, including the Goldman Peace Prize winner Mama Yosefa Alomang and speakers from Dawan Adat Papua.

Reports say at the end of the rally Indonesian Police and other security forces with a water cannon, which had been on standby outside the rally, moved in to disperse the crowd. The four flags had been raised at the end of the ceremony.  These flags were the Indonesian National flag, the United Nations flag, the SOS flag saying Papuan people are in danger and the banned Nationalist symbol the Morning Star Flag.

After the flags were raised the Police reportedly moved in and started firing into the surrounding buildings and into the ground in front of the crowd.

Opinus Tabuni who had been sitting near the fence of the Santa Thomas Catholic Senior High School (SMU YPPK) was killed with a bullet.  Photos of Opinus Tabuni show bullet puncture wound on his left side.

The body of Opinus Tabuni was kept at the Tribal Council Office (Lapago) in Wamena before being transferred to the hospital. A request has been made to the Chief of Police in Papua to view the body.

The local police Chief, Lt. Col. Paulus Waterpau, denied in the media that his police officers were involved in killing. Waterpau made the claim that Mr Tabuni ‘might have been accidently killed by protestors’ with spears in the crowd.  An Indonesian military officer Lt. Col. Gandry in Wamena also claimed in the media that military had fired warning shots before the crowd become hostile.  He reported that the dead man could have been shot or killed by an arrow.

Paula Makabory from Institute for Papua advocacy & Human Rights said today,  “The Indonesian Police also have the audacity to deny they have killed this man when he was shot in front of everyone.  Indonesian Police and Military have been immune from prosecution in West Papua if they use violence to kill or torture our people .”

Two other men were reported also seriously injured by Indonesian security forces. It was reported that one man who was shot and critically injured. Human Rights workers are searching for this man and it is feared that Indonesian security forces have removed him.

Witnesses reported that the other man was severely beaten by police using their rifle butts.  The family of this man report that he is missing.

Paula Makabory continued, “This incident is a clear indication that the Indonesian police believe that unfurling the Morning Star flag is enough justification to shoot at people in a peaceful rally.”

“This police action could easily have escalated into conflict and lead to deaths of many West Papuan people. There were 20,000 people at the rally many of whom were armed with tradition spears and bows & arrows.   If they had the people reacted forcefully to the Police shooting there would have been a major catastrophe. It is a credit to our people that they continued to react peacefully to such provocation.  The police wanted to trigger a conflict.”

After the shooting it is reported that non-Papuans (Indonesian) inhabitants of Wamena and surrounding areas have moved to Police and Military compounds because of the perceived risk of retaliation from local people.

There are said to be about 10,000 people from the surrounding mountains still in Wamena today (Sunday).

For further information contact: Paula Makabory  +61 402547517

Photographs available for use and distribution are:

1/ Opinus Tabuni (deceased) showing bullet wound  https://ipahr.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/08opinus-tabunideceased-showing-bullet-wound.jpg;
2/ Police preparation in front of Santa Thomas High School;
3/  Intelligence officer with gun, with Police activity and water cannon in background;
4/  Three flags Indonesian flag, Morning Star and SOS above crowd.  https://ipahr.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/08-flags-un-ms-sos-papua
5/  Three flags and traditional tower, UN Flag, Morning Star and SOS with ‘Papuan People in danger’;
6/ Rally walking through streets of Wamena. https://ipahr.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/08-people-rally-through-town.jpg

Please credit ‘Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights’

Matthew Jamieson
Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights
PO Box 1805, Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia
matthew@hr.minihub.org
tel +61(0) 418291998

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2 Responses to “West Papua: Indonesian Police shoot man at Indigenous Peoples rally”

  1. Papua Press Agency » West Papua: Police shoot man at Indigenous Peoples rally Says:

    […] Photographs available for use and distribution are: 1/ Opinus Tabuni (deceased) showing bullet wound; 2/ Police preparation in front of Santa Thomas High School; 3/ Intelligence officer with gun, with Police activity and water cannon in background; 4/ Three flags Indonesian flag, Morning Star and SOS above crowd. 5/ Three flags and traditional tower, UN Flag, Morning Star and SOS with ‘Papuan People in danger’; 6/ Rally walking through streets of Wamena. Please credit ‘Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights’ See […]

  2. Thomas Agaky-Wanda Says:

    Indonesia government never give up, the only thing we have to do is UN must involve to clear every thing. Thank you, Thomas

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