Abeth You, Enarotali – Reports from Intan Jaya confirmed that in late February and early March, two civilians, one a man with disability and another a teenager, were shot dead.
The reports came on the heels of a fresh deployment of 100 Mobile Brigade members from the National Police on Feb. 18 and not long after Papua Police claimed that the situation in Intan Jaya was "secured and under control" and that there were no displaced people scattered from the regency.
Witnesses claimed the security personnel, either the Indonesian Military or the National Police, shot them both.
Catholic priest Yance Yogi said on March 5, Donatus Mirip, 36, was shot dead allegedly by TNI on Feb. 27, 2021 in Kampung Ndugusiga in Sugapa District, Intan Jaya Regency in Papua. The priest said he recognized Mirip's face as one of the members of his congregation in Titigi Parish in Timika Diocese, the parish where Yogi served.
"I received a body, named Donatus Mirip or Kuliki Mirip, at midnight, by the Indonesian Military (TNI). I saw his face and I was surprised to see that he was one of the members of my congregation in Titigi Parish," Yogi told Jubi on Friday, March 5.
Yogi said the following day, on Feb. 28, they buried Donatus Mirip in Kampung Titigi, 300 meters from the office of Titigi Parish. "He was deaf. He could not hear a soft or loud voice. He also had mental problems," Yogi said.
One of Mirip's relatives, Mepa, said Mirip lived in Kampung Ndugusiga even though his neighbors in the kampung had left the village for some time. From day to day he walked from one kampung to another, he said.
"He was alone in that kampung. He visited several kampung almost every day," Mepa said. Mepa suspected that his mental health problems caused him to stay in the deserted village,
Mepa denied the accusation that Mirip was a member of an armed group of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). "I read several news articles in online media and Mirip was reported to be an OPM member. It was not true," he said.
"Those who shot him apparently could not tell that he was not an able person. We had said several times, before coming to Intan Jaya, they should have mapped the geography and tried to know the residents better," he said.
Jubi could not reach the TNI and the National Police for comments on Mirip's death.
Residents carry a body, which was reported to be that of Melianus Nayagau, who just graduated from the local state junior high school, who was shot death on March 6, 2021.
On Sunday, March 7, Intan Jaya Legislative councilor, Oktovianus Wandikbo said another victim, allegedly shot by the Indonesian Military in Kampung Puyagiya on March 6, was a student at State Junior High School in Sugapa District, identified as Melianus Nayagau.
Wandikbo said he received the information from Nayagau's family on March 6 in the evening.
"The kid who was shot by the TNI was not a member of West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) or OPM, but he was a student at State Junior High School Sugapa. I have asked his family members," Wandikbo said on March 7, 2021.
He said he had yet confirmed the report to the school principal because the principal's cell phone could not be reached.
Later, Intan Jaya Education Agency clarified Nayagau's status, saying that he had graduated from the State Junior High School in Sugapa last year. Agency head Apolos Bagau said he did not continue his education to high school level due to the tension in the area coupled with the pandemic. Nayagau was 17 years old when he died.
Councilor Wandikbo said the look of mountain people in Intan Jaya were typical, so to eyes that were not discerning, they would look similar to TPNPB.
"This kid was a school kid. But we in the mountains wore similar apparel: we wore orchid necklaces dangling on our chest, we had dreadlocks, overlarged jacket, boots for mud, brought noken, some ate areca nuts. Security personnel who just arrived heree had to learn this and to know the habits of the local people. Don't mistake civilians with TPNPB, it's fatally wrong," he said.
The spokesperson of United Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III, Col. IGN Suriastawa said that the TNI had led an ambush against the TPNPB on Saturday, March 6, in Kampung Puyagiya, killing one person and injuring one other. The injured person fled the scene.
Suriastawa said the ambush began when TNI spotted four people walking carrying firearms. He claimed the fatality was a member of TPNPB. I
Intan Jaya Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Sandi Sultan told ceposonline.com on March 7, 2021, that the situation in Intan Jaya was "secured and under control". He said he did not know about the teenager's death. "Those who posted a status (on social media on the death of Nayagau) should come out here so I could make them a witness in this case," Sandi said.
Earlier, on Feb. 23, 2021, the spokesperson of Papua Police, Sr. Comr. Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said in the police's official website that Intan Jaya's situation was "under control" and the regency no longer had any displaced people. "No one left their kampung after the violence done by the armed criminal group. The residents only took shelter temporarily at the church," he claimed. He also claimed that as of Feb. 23, the residents had returned to their home.
Catholic priest Yustinus Rahagiar, who prayed for Nayagau at the yard of Catholic Church St. Paulus Baitapa in Kampung Puyagiya on March 7, said the villagers had taken shelter at the church. "The situation was chaotic," he said.
Councilor Wandikbo said Indonesian government had to open their eyes and their hearts to avoid more fatalities among civilians. Why did they kill a pastor, a catechist, a teenager, a disabled person? Wandikbo lamented. "TNI came here to hunt for TPNPB or kill our civilians?" he went on.
He said the security personnel had intelligence officers and they should have deployed this skill to avoid killing innocents. "Indonesian state, through TNI and the National Police, has gone too far," he said.