Dandy Koswaraputra and Pizaro Gozali Idrus – A senior journalist who often covers human rights violations in Papua says that a bomb exploded near his home on Monday. Independent journalists groups say the incident was intimidation and threatens press freedom.
No one was hurt in the explosion near his home in Jayapura, said Victor Mambor, the editor of the prominent Papua news website Tabloid Jubi, and contributor to Benar News and other media.
Papua Regional Police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Ignatius Benny said that officials in Jayapura are still investigating the motive behind the explosion and as of this article being posted no one has admitted responsibility.
"Yes, someone threw a bomb. It's still under investigation by the Jayapura city Municipal Police. The motive and perpetrator is not yet known, meanwhile it's being looked into", said Benny in Jayapura in an SMS message sent to Benar News on Monday.
Mambor said that the sound of the explosion was quite loud and left a large hole in the road. "Such that my house also shook like in an earthquake", Mambor told Benar News.
According to Mambor, he heard a person start a motorbike – which was also captured on CCTV – and around one minute later at 4 am local time there was an explosion.
"I also examined the source of the explosion and smelt the smell of sulfur from the side of the house. Apparently ruminants of the explosion were found on the road a distance of only three metre from the house wall", said Mambor.
This is not the first time that such an incident has been experienced by Mambor. In April 2021, the windows of his car parked outside his home were smashed and the doors spray painted in the middle of the night.
"Law enforcement efforts in cases of the terrorist bomb at Victor Mambor's home are the focus of our attention", said Jayapura Municipal Police Chief Senior Commissioner Victor Mackbon told journalists in response to Mambor's report of the incident.
The Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) called the explosion an "act of terror".
"AJI Jayapura strongly condemns the bombing and act of terror and believes that the act was intimidation that threatens press freedom in Papua", read an AJI statement.
Victor Mambor is also a press freedom activist in Papua. In this role, he has criticised central government restrictions on press reporting in Papua along with other polices that are seen as problematic in Indonesia's eastern-most province.
For his work supporting press freedom, AJI awarded Mambor with the 2022 Udin Award for dedication to journalism, which cited Mambor, along with Jubi as, "bringing more voices from Papua, in the midst of the domination of information that is bias, one-sided and discriminates against Papua".
"AJI Jayapura invites all journalists in the land of Papua to keep speaking the truth in the midst of various obstacles. Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum, which means justice should be upheld even though the sky will collapse", AJI Jayapura Chairperson Lucky Ireeuw said in response to the explosion at Mambor's home.
Amnesty International Indonesia meanwhile is urging the police to find the perpetrators and fully investigate the motive behind the explosion.
"The police must fully investigate this incident, because this is not the first time, meaning there has been omission so that the perpetrators feel free to do it again, intimidate and threaten the work of journalists", Amnesty Campaign Manager Nurina Savitri told Benar News.
A similar view was conveyed by National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner Anis Hidayah.
"Yes, human rights defenders who work in the field to articulate issues related to the many things that happen in the community, so that their position is very vulnerable so that protection for them is very important", Hidayah told Benar News.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Bom meledak di dekat rumah jurnalis senior Papua, polisi selidiki motif".]