Nabire, Jubi – Mis Murib, representing the Talenta Keadilan Papua Legal Aid Agency (LBH TKP), said his party had reported to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) about the shooting and mutilation of Tarina Murib, a resident of Yugumoak District, Puncak Regency, Central Papua Province, as well as the shooting of nine other civilians from Yugumoak, allegedly carried out by security forces during their pursuit of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).
The legal aid agency also reported the shooting of Panius Tabuni, a teacher at YPPGI Sinak High School, which occurred in Sinak District's Tapulinik Village.
Mis elaborated that these complaints, along with several other cases, were presented during his meeting with Hari Kurniawan, one of the commissioners of Komnas HAM.
"I described the situation in Ilaga, the capital of Puncak Regency, and several other districts that have become conflict zones between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police and TPNPB troops, resulting in civilian casualties who were unaware of the conflict," he explained.
"Following the shooting and mutilation, civilians from Yugumoak District and Mageabume District have fled to Puncak Jaya Regency, Nabire Regency, and Timika Regency," Mis added.
Regarding the situation in Puncak, Mis stated that the armed conflict had led to restrictions on civilian activities by security forces. He had also informed Komnas HAM about this matter.
"We also told Komnas HAM that places of worship are closed, gardening activities restricted, and there is strict surveillance of people's homes by security forces. This is the situation in Puncak, particularly in the Sinak area," Mis said.
He expressed his hope that Komnas HAM would dispatch a team to observe the conditions faced by the people in Puncak. "We sincerely hope that the Komnas HAM will directly visit to witness the people's situation. Observing it solely through media or reports will not be enough. We urge Komnas HAM to collect data on the ground and take legal action against those responsible for the violence against residents," Mis concluded.
Manise Murib of the Puncak Student Executive Board across Java and Bali also appealed to Komnas HAM to give priority to addressing cases of alleged human rights violations in Papua, particularly in Puncak's Yugumoak District.
Manise requested that Komnas HAM identify the individuals responsible for the shooting and mutilation of Tarina Murib. He also called upon the National Police chief and the TNI commander to ensure that every personnel deployed in Papua receives specialized training on anthropology and the local way of life in Papua.
"It would be unfortunate if we continue to have victims due to a lack of understanding," Manise remarked.
Responding to the report, Hari Kurniawan of Komnas HAM announced that Komnas HAM commissioners will soon visit Papua.
Hari also mentioned that his office is open to the possibility of forming a dedicated team to handle cases of alleged human rights violations in Papua. "We also seek support from civil society groups, students, and the families of the victims for data collection since we lack knowledge about the conditions in the Puncak area, which is prone to conflict," he added.
No one takes the blame
Amidst the shooting and mutilation of Tarina Murib in Yugumuak District on March 3, 2023, both the TNI and TPNPB blamed each other for the incident. Col. Kav Herman Taryaman, the spokesperson of XVII/Cenderawasih Military Command, in a written statement on March 6 said that Tarina Murib was shot by TPNPB members.
According to Herman, the news saying TNI's involvement in the shooting and mutilation of residents in Pamebut was a hoax spread by the TPNPB to undermine the authority of the security forces who were attempting to rescue the Susi Air pilot taken hostage by TPNPB.
On the other hand, Kalenak Murib TPNPB's Sinak War Area Command denied that TPNPB had shot civilians. Instead, he accused the TNI of being responsible for shooting the civilians.
"We deny the statement made by the Indonesian Military claiming that TPNPB shot civilians. We have never targeted civilians or burned people's houses. The shooting of civilians occurred when TNI soldiers pursued us in Winisu Village," said Kalenak.
On March 8, 2023, Usman Hamid, the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, urged the security forces to conduct a thorough investigation into the reported shooting and mutilation of Tarina Murib.
He emphasized the importance of not jumping to conclusions before a comprehensive investigation is carried out in accordance with established procedures. Usman also reminded all parties that acts of violence involving the security forces and pro-independence groups in Papua would only result in increased casualties and should be avoided.