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Indonesian military denies hand in Papuan teen's death

Radio New Zealand - November 9, 2020

Indonesia's military has denied that a West Papuan teenager died as a result of a raid by its officers.

Trouble began with a traffic incident in Sentani. A soldier from Infantry Battalion 751 had been involved in the incident, had his motorbike confiscated by two residents from Soloitma dormitory.

Subsequently, members of his battalion raided the dorm armed with what residents said were bayonets and swords. They damaged property, roughed up residents and confiscated their bikes, detaining at least five people.

However 18-year old student, Dimisien Kobak, who was not associated with the traffic fracas, was reportedly assaulted by soldiers. It's understood she was already sick. She was taken to hospital after the raid and died the next morning.

A spokesman for Indonesia's military says there were no signs of violence or persecution on the young woman's body.

The spokesman said it was possible that the deceased died from shortness of breath, but also said she had complained of pain in the thighs and stomach before being taken to hospital by her parents.

According to the spokesman, Pangdam XVII/Cenderawasih military command has ordered an internal investigation into these events.

He said if there was a member of the military (TNI) who is proven to have violated the provisions and laws, he will be given sanctions in accordance with the applicable rules and laws.

Meanwhile, the director of the Human Rights Attorney Association for Papua, Gustav Kawer, said the military personnel's action was a criminal offense and a human rights abuse, because it was committed outside TNI jurisdiction to jail individuals and beat people.

Kawwer said that Dimisien Kobak had been lying prone, sick in her bed when soldiers kicked her.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/430223/indonesian-military-denies-hand-in-papuan-teen-s-deat