Yance Wenda, Jayapura, Jubi – A number of students and family members of Hendrik Lokbere reflected on Sunday night, December 19, 2021, the shooting that killed Lokbere two years ago. They urged the Indonesian government to investigate and disclose the murder of Hendrik Lokbere and other Nduga civilians.
Hendrik Lokbere was a Nduga civilian who worked as a public transport driver in Kenyem, Nduga Regency, Papua Province. He was shot and killed in December 2019, while on his way to the Asmat Regency border to pick up passengers.
According to eyewitnesses, Hendrik Lokbere was allegedly shot by the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police. It was, however, denied by the TNI and police. Two years have passed now and the case of Hendrik Lokbere's death has not been disclosed, let alone taken to court.
The memorial night which took place at the Nimin Dormitory was attended by families of the shooting victims, activists of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), students from the Nduga-Jayapura Student Association, and local residents. The people also commemorated a number of victims of the shooting in Nduga other than Lokbere, namely Elias Karunggu, Saru Karunggu, and five other victims.
Memorial night coordinator Wekcho Kogoya said the shootings of civilians in Nduga were similar to cases of shootings of civilians by security forces in other places in Papua. "Facts and evidence strongly suggest there were gross human rights violations in the Nduga incident on December 19, 2019. The families of victims and the people of Papua have not forgotten the Nduga Massacre. And just like the Nduga Massacre, all [human rights violation] cases that occurred on this land were [ignored], as if the state was hiding their crimes against Indigenous Papuans," Kogoya said.
Kogoya said that according to several witnesses, Hendrik Lokbere did not do anything that endangered anyone while driving. "The victim was a public transport driver. He was on his way to pick up passengers to Batas Batu. While descending Yosema Street, he turned on the high beam headlights, signaling to other cars and trucks. It turned out that it was [a security forces truck], they immediately opened fire and the bullet pierced through Lokbere's chest. The victim's uncle who was in the car jumped out. The victim was still trying to back the vehicle with struggle because it was on an incline. The security forces then surrounded the car, asked Hendrik Lokbere to get out of the car, then allegedly shot him again," explained Kogoya.
The victim's family together with the participants of the memorial night asked the government to withdraw troops from Nduga. They said that the deployment of the TNI and police had hindered people from doing their daily activities freely, such as gardening and farming.
"The state through the military must immediately stop violence against Indigenous Papuans. With the security forces' presence, this December [we] did not feel the Christmas atmosphere like in other parts of the world. Indonesia must also stop the exploitation of natural and human resources in the Land of Papua. Papua is not an empty land," said Kogoya.
One of the Papuan women who attended the memorial night, Erkab Tabuni, said that as a woman, she felt sick seeing Papuan children being killed. She said that a mother did not give birth to her child to be tortured and killed. "Hendrik Lokbere was not born to be tortured and killed. The state must open the truth and explain it to the public. As a mother, I feel really hurt about the Nduga Massacre," said Tabuni. (*)