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In wake of pastor's killing, calls to reevaluate security approach in Papua

Kompas.com - November 3, 2020

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) director Al Araf is asking on the government to reevaluate the security policies applied to bring the conflict in Papua under control.

Araf made the request following the findings of a National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) investigation which pointed to the alleged involvement of a senior officer from the Hitadipa sub-district military command (Koramil) in the shooting of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Intan Jaya, Papua, on September 19.

"It's time for the state to reevaluate the security approach in Papua which often impacts on violence in society", Araf told Kompas.com on Tuesday November 3 saying that the approach the government could take would be to prioritise dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

A similar view was expressed by the head of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation's (YLBHI) advocacy division Muhammad Isnur.

According to Isnur, the state must abandon the security approach as a way of resolving the problems in the Land of the Cendrawasih as Papua is known.

Isnur also said that the state should apologies to the Papuan people because the deployment of additional troops to Papua has in fact often ended in violence.

"When there are incidents such as this (cases of violence), [the government] should respond with peaceful efforts, not deploying additional troops", he asserted.

Komnas HAM findings

An investigation by Komnas HAM's monitoring and investigation team has concluded that a senior TNI (Indonesian military) officer from Koramil killed Zanambani.

Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam revealed that that is suspected that the perpetrator personally tortured and killed Zanambani in what was an extrajudicial killing.

"This is also based on an admission by the victim before he died heard by two witnesses, and at least two witnesses who saw the (rouge TNI officer) in the vicinity of the TKP [crime scene] at the time of the incident along with three or four other [TNI] members", said Anam during a virtual press conference on Monday November 2.

Komnas HAM came to this conclusion based on the bullet wounds in the victim's body which are believed to have been fired from less than one metre away.

The other consideration was the character of the shootings at the location of the incident, namely at Zanambani's pigpen which is narrow and confined. Komnas HAM concluded that the perpetrator used a short firearm or pistol or some other weapon.

According to Komnas HAM, Zanambani's death was related to a series of incidents on September 17-19.

One of these was the fatal shooting of a TNI soldier named Chief Sergeant (serka) Sahlan whose weapon was seized by the West Papua National Liberation Army/Free Papua Movement (TPNPB/OPM).

The incident resulted in a search for the missing weapon. Anam revealed that Zanambani became the target of the search by the alleged perpetrator of his killing.

The torture and violence against Zanambani is suspected to have been done to obtain information on the whereabouts of the seized weapon.

"This was explicitly conveyed by (the perpetrator), a TNI member of Hitadipa Koramil, who cited the name Pastor Yeremia Zanambani as one of his enemies", he said.

"Pastor Yeremia Zanambani had also being quite vocal in asking the TNI about the disappearance of two of his family members", he added.

Aside from the direct perpetrator, Komnas HAM also suspects there was an indirect perpetrator, namely the one who gave the order for the search of the missing weapon.

TGPF findings

Meanwhile the government sanctioned Intan Jaya Joint Fact Finding Team (TGPF) also found the alleged involvement of the TNI in Zanambani's killing.

The results of the TGPF investigation were announced by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD during a press conference at the ministry's office in Jakarta on Wednesday October 21.

"Related to the murder of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani on September 19, 2020 the information and facts found by the team in the field point to the alleged involvement of a rogue government official. Although there is also the possibility that it was committed by a third party", said Mahfud.

As has been reported, the TGPF was investigating several killings that occurred in Intan Jaya in mid-September. Aside from the killing of Zanambani, the other cases being investigated were the deaths of TNI Private First-Class Dwi Akbar, a civilian named Badawi and Sergeant Sahlan.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Negara Diminta Evaluasi Pendekatan Keamanan di Papua".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2020/11/03/22225891/negara-diminta-evaluasi-pendekatan-keamanan-di-papu