Jakarta – The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) is urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo open the curtain on the shooting of Pastor Yeremia Zanamban in the Intan Jaya regency of Papua on Saturday September 19.
PGI Chairperson Gomar Gultom has asked Widodo to personally order National Police Chief (Kapolri) General Idham Azis to fully investigate the shooting. Gultom admitted that he has received conflicting information about the shooting.
"I demand that the president order the Kapolri to investigate this case fully and bring [the perpetrators] to justice", said Gultom in an official release on Monday September 22.
Gultom said that based on reports from the Tabernacle Bible Church of Indonesia (GKII) and the Papuan media, it is suspected that the victim was shot by TNI (Indonesian military) soldiers during a military operation.
He said however, that there is information that Zanamban was shot by an Armed Criminal Group (KKB) – the government's term for the Free Papua Movement.
"If it's true that he was shot by the TNI, I also ask the president to order the panglima [TNI commander] to halt all forms of military operations [in Papua]", he said.
In an official press release the PGI said it deplored the shooting, which is only the latest in a string of incidents in the Land of the Bird of Paradise – as Papua is known.
Gultom again reminded the government to prioritise a cultural approach in resolving the problems in Papua, saying that Widodo has repeatedly said that violence will not resolve the problems in Papua.
"The key to this is in the president's hands with assistance from the panglima and the Kapolri. The authority for this is fully in the hands of the president", he said.
The information on the shooting from the police and the TNI conflicts with that conveyed by the GKII. They allege that Zanamban was shot dead by the TNI and that church congregations in the area have fled into the forests in fear.
The TNI and the police meanwhile are fully convinced that an Armed Criminal Group is responsible for the shooting. According to Papua regional police public relations division chief Senior Commissioner Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, there are no TNI or police personnel deployed in Hitadipa district, Intan Jaya.
"What's there is is just the Hitadipa Koramil [sub-district military command] preparation post there. The issue circulating that the shooting incident was committed by the TNI is untrue", he said in an official release on Monday.
The Free Papua Organisation-West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB-OPM) has denied responsibility for the shooting. TPNPB-OPM spokesperson Sebby Sambom accused the TNI of shooting Zanamban during an armed contact between the TNI and his fighters in Intan Jaya. (mjo/fra)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "PGI Desak Jokowi Minta Kapolri Usut Penembakan Pendeta Papua".]