Military members open fire at protesters in Jayapura

A violent clash between a large number of protesters and military members occurred in Jayapura on 25 May 2017 after members of the Korem 172/PWY military base had allegedly burned several bibles. The protesters had gathered in front of the military base, where they erected road blocks on the main road, connecting Jayapura with the suburban area Waena. The Mayor of Jayapura City and police officers had tried to calm down the crowd, asking the protesters to go home and leave the prosecution of perpetrators to the police. As all attempts of mediation remained unsuccesful, military members forcefully dispersed the protest because angry demonstrators had allegedly thrown stones at security force members and injured two police officers during the mediation attempt.

According to eyewitnesses, an armored vehicle drove towards the crowd while several soldiers were walking ahead of the vehicle. The witnesses reported that the military members released several warning shots into the air and then allegedly opened fire at the crowd unsing live ammunition. Three protesters named Victor Pulanda, Edi Siep and Alvian Ukago were injured by bullets and had to be hospitalized.

Subsequently, the military members attacked several housing areas near the Padang Bulan main road. Around 05.00 pm, army members carried out sweepings at Padang Bulan housing area II, where they challenged the residents to leave their houses and face them. As people did not respond to the provocation the military members left the area. Military members carried out unlawful arrests in front of the military headquarters around 07.00 pm. The police is currently investigating the alleged burning of the bibles which caused the outbreak of violence.