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Initial report of the conflict following the Third Papuan People's Congress in Padangbulan, Abepura-Papua

Posted - November 15, 2011

Chronology of the Congress

A. Opening of the Third Papuan Congress

The Congress opened on 16 October at 2pm in a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. The participants, observers and cheerleaders were all agreed with no one objecting to the Congress. The sense of enthusiasm was reflected in the decision to slaughter a pig by Congress chairman, Selpius Bobii, which was followed by the opening address by the Congress committee. As it was already evening, the session was closed and the participants returned to their dormitories.

Second day: On 17 October, the documents of the Congress were circulated by the Rev. Sofyan Yoman, Chairman of the Baptist Church in Papua, and Septer Manufandu, director of the Papuan NGO Forum. The participants were then divided into commissions.

B. Plenary sessions:

On the third day, 18 October, the proceedings continued without any disturbances. The session began with the presentation of the chairman's hammer and the performance of Tuupe dances by the Mee people. This was done to ensure that the meetings would proceed smoothly, safely and without disagreements. It was decided to focus on three themes: Politics, Law and Finance.

All the decisions adopted at these thematic sessions were approved by the leadership of the Congress. In the evening, the committee drew together all the contributions, opinions and proposals of the participants. The main objectives were agreed without any disturbances.

C. Congress ends with loss of life

After these declarations had been presented, the sound of gunshots caused great consternation among the Papuan people. I was close to the shooting at 15.35pm on 19 October and I heard about a thousand shots in the first 25 minutes. Soon after, we heard more shooting so there must have been around 1,500 gunshots. I realised that this posed a threat to the Congress participants who started running to the hills behind the Zakeus soccer field which was where priests and friars had gathered. Many people ran towards UNCEN (Cenderawaisih University) along the main road in Abepura, to avoid being hit by the bullets and to avoid being arrested. Some of those who fled towards the hills returned safely. Some who knew my cell phone number rang me to say that they were returning to their homes. I know nothing about the condition of those I didn't hear from. Had they fled to the hills or to the forest or had they been shot dead?

I realised that many Congress participants had fled to the hills in fear of their lives. I was very concerned about those who had fled to avoid the being hit by the joint forces of the TNI (Indonesian Army) and Polri (the Indonesian Police). I was hoping that there would be no casualties among these innocent people during the incident that occurred beside the soccer pitch or at the STFT (High School of Philosophy and Theology) campus. The STFT campus and the STFT Seminary were also attacked and some of the priests were arrested. They were deeply traumatised. Meanwhile, Sang Surya which is where colleagues of mine, members of the OFM Order, were residing, was also damaged by the TNI/Polri. Some people were arrested there while many others were beaten and tortured at the Sang Surya/OFM complex.

To ensure that things would go according to plan, the chief of police of Jayapura, AKBP Imam Setiawan was present with his troops from the moment of the declaration on 19 October. According to our observations, before this incident occurred, two TNI units were on guard on the two hills behind the STFT-Fajar Timor Abepura complex. When the shooting started, the mass of people were encircled and were shot at from the hills. The people were confused about where to run because the way to the hills was controlled by two groups of soldiers. When the soldiers later returned to the place where the incident had occurred in Tunas Harapan, we could hear that they were speaking Javanese.

On 21 October, Cenderawasih Pos (Cepos), quoted the Jayapura police chief Imam Setiawan as saying that the TPN/OPM (the military wing of the OPM) had been shooting from the hills. The Jayapura police chief disseminated this falsehood in Cepos. The Papua One TV channel also reported that there had been shooting from the hills aimed at the large crowd of people who were running towards the hills. The friars and pastors were very confused when the police chief's statement was reported on TV. It was clearly wrong, a deception. We knew from what we had seen and heard ourselves that the shooting was not by members of the TPN/OPM but by the joint forces of the army and the police who, from the beginning, had been up in the hills when the shooting occurred.

In their declaration, the Papuan people announced that they had chosen the leadership of the West Papuan people, with Forkorus Yaboisembut as the head of state/President and Edison Waromi as the Prime Minister. But the two men were arrested by the joint forces of the Indonesian military and police because they were deemed to have set up a rival government. They were arrested at the Tunas Harapan Hostel, Jalan Yakonde, Abepura. Many people were arrested, shot dead or wounded, but the victims have not yet been identified. The Tunas Harapan Hostel was completely destroyed and laptops and computers as well as cash were taken

Apart from this, one of the hostels which was used the Diocese of Agats at STFT-Fajar Timur Abepura was also destroyed by the joint team of the army and police. The rooms had been smashed up and the windows broken, having been struck by bullets. The CPU 2 unit (?) is under the command of the joint forces of the army and the police and they say that this was done to obtain evidence.

Conditions in Abepura are still very tense and are being watched closely by the STFT friars and priests. The local inhabitants are in a state of great anxiety and are mourning for the friends and relatives who have been shot dead.

Note: During these incidents, the Congress participants and members of the public did not launch any attacks. On the contrary, the Congress participants handed themselves in or were shot dead on the Zakeus Padangbulan soccer field in Abepura.

List of victims: No. Name Sex/Age status Notes

1. Damianus Daniel Kadepa M 30 Petapa guard Shot dead, shots to the head and chest
2. Yakop Samonsabra M 37 Petapa guard Shot dead, back of head (brains) totally shattered
3. Maks Yeuw M 37 Petapa guard Shot dead, shots to stomach and chest
4. A woman NN F Civilian Shot in the buttocks
5. A man NN M Civilian Caught by bullets which pierced his palms
6. Forkorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waromi M DAP and WPNA Arrested and remain in POLDA Papua
7. August Makbrawen M Civilian Arrested and remains in POLDA
8. Daud Wilil M Civilian Arrested, beaten and then sent home from POLDA
9. 2 students from Sorong M Umel Mandiri Shot dead, identities not known
10. 2 students from Wamena M STIE Ottow and Getler Shot dead, identities not confirmed
11. Neles Siep M SKPKC Arrested, beaten by police after being interrogated and then sent home
12. Pilatus Wetipo M Civilian Shot in the leg resulting in shattering of bones
13. Dominikus Sorabut and Gat Wenda M Papuan activists Arrested and remain in POLDA Papua
14. Six (6) friars and over 300 civilians.

Note: Some Petapa guards remain in critical condition since being charged, detained, kicked with boots and hit till they were almost dead at POLDA Papua. I am specially monitoring these Petapa guards' conditions. Students at STFT-Fajar Timur Abepura and other civilians Arrested and after interrogation were sent home. The civilians were detained at POLDA Papua. Some were sent home having been beaten till they were bleeding, bruised and swollen all over their bodies.

[Written by a Catholic priest whose name is not given. Translated by TAPOL.]

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