APSN Banner

Witness describes how TNI, police stood by in mob attack on Papuan student dormitory

Tirto.id - December 1, 2020

Adi Briantika – Natan Weya, a Papuan student from the Pattimura University (Unpatti), has confirmed that joint units of police and Indonesian military (TNI) officers along with local people besieged their dormitory on the evening of Tuesday December 1.

Weya and 20 other dormitory residents were preparing materials for a December 1 protest action to commemorate the declaration of West Papuan independence. At around 10.21 pm a group of people arrived at the dormitory located on Jalan Ir. M. Putuhena in Ambon Bay sub-district, Ambon city.

"All of a sudden there were several police, TNI officers, a female Unpatti lecturer, the head of the RT [neighborhood association] and the village secretary. They came to our place", Weya told Tirto on Tuesday December 1.

Weya knew the lecturer, who teaches at the Pattimura University faculty of economics, but did not know her name.

The dormitory residents asked the reason for their arrival and the head of the RT said that they had obtained information that there were new residents of the dormitory, which they wanted to check.

According to Weya, the head of the RT should have come alone to verify any new residents and did not need to bring the police and TNI officers. The residents asked them to leave.

The other reason for refusing them entry was that the crowd of "guests" had arrived outside of working hours. "After that the TNI, Indonesian police, intelligence [officers], closed off the two roads leading to our place of residence. They were helped by local people", explained Weya.

The situation became heated when at around 3.30 in the morning the crowd pelted the dormitory with stones. There were six such incidents accompanied by abuse.

"They shouted abusive words (like) dogs, pigs, animals, stupid and all sorts of things. But we Papuan students didn't respond", explained Weya.

Then a video of the incident circulated [on social media]. Weya also confirmed that there was an attempt to break down the front gate although the mob was unable to get inside despite provocations to do so.

Weya said that police, TNI officers and residents were still on guard in front of the dormitory. This created fear inside and their movements have been restricted. They were not even able to buy food or cigarettes and they not received any assistance.

The number of uniformed police and TNI officers on guard outside continued to grow, several were carrying firearms. Some were not wearing uniforms.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Asrama Mahasiswa Papua di Ambon Didatangi Aparat terkait 1 Desember".]

Source: https://tirto.id/asrama-mahasiswa-papua-di-ambon-didatangi-aparat-terkait-1-desember-f7B