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Indonesian army apologises after viral Papua torture video

Reuters - March 26, 2024

Jakarta – The Indonesian Army issued a rare apology on Monday and said 13 soldiers had been arrested after a video emerged showing a man being tortured by troops in Papua region, where armed separatists have clashed with security forces for years.

The footage, which showed a Papuan man in a barrel of bloodied water being cut with a blade, has sparked outcry on Indonesian social media. Papua Military Commander officer Maj. Gen. Izak Pangemanan confirmed it was authentic and the incident had taken place in February.

"This action is against the law, tarnished the name of the military and disrupted efforts to handle conflicts in Papua," he told reporters, adding that the 13 arrested soldiers as well as others were still under investigation.

"I apologise to all Papuans, and we will work to ensure this is never repeated," he said.

Izak said the man shown in the video was a separatist who had planned with two others to burn a health centre in Central Papua, and that he had been released after the incident.

Human rights group Amnesty International, which collects evidence of violence in Papua, said the man had died. It called for higher-ranking officers to be held to account as well as foot soldiers.

Resource-rich Papua has experienced violence between armed separatists and troops since it was brought under Indonesian control in a vote overseen by the United Nations in 1969.

The conflict has escalated significantly since 2018, with pro-independence fighters mounting deadlier and more frequent attacks, largely because they have managed to procure more sophisticated weapons.

Security forces say that in some clashes, separatists have killed police and soldiers.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2024/03/26/indonesian-army-apologises-after-viral-papua-torture-video.htm