Victor Mambor, Jayapura – An 18-year-old resident of Asiki district in Bovel Digoel regency, Papua, reportedly died after being tortured by Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel stationed in the region.
Identified as Oktovianus Warip Betere, the young man was accused of stealing from a kiosk at a local market on Friday and subsequently taken into custody by TNI personnel based on a report from a supposed witness, according to Merauke Archdiocese director Anselmus Amo.
"Upon capture, [Oktavianus] was assaulted and then brought to a military post," Anselmus said.
He claimed that Oktavianius was tortured and eventually killed while in custody. A post-mortem examination performed at a local clinic found a number of bruises and wounds on Oktavianus' body, he said.
Oktavianus was promptly laid to rest with a private funeral that was limited to several family members.
Boven Digoel Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Syamsurijal confirmed Oktavianus' death but questioned the rumors circulating among locals regarding the events that led to his passing.
"It's true that someone has died, that the perpetrator is a TNI soldier. But not everything that's been said is true," Syamsurijal told The Jakarta Post, denying rumors that Oktavianus' death was subject to a military cover-up.
He went on to say that he had visited Asiki district alongside local military officials to investigate the incident on Saturday.
Maj. Suko Raharjo, a spokesperson for military command post (Korem) 174 in Merauke regency, denied that Oktavianus was tortured to death at a military post in Asiki.
"It's false. The victim died at a Puskesmas [community health center] in Asiki," he said, adding that the TNI was still conducting a thorough investigation into the incident. (rfa)