Indigenous woman shot dead in Timika – seven mobile police brigade officers under investigation

The Papuan news outlets ‘Tabloid Jubi’ and ‘Suara Papua’ have reported the killing of 55-years-old Emakulata Kolaka Emakeparo, an indigenous Papuan woman of the Kamoro tribe. The incident occurred on 3 February 2018 around 10 pm, as Emakulata Emakeparo and her husband were  crossing the river in a small canoe near the Amamare cargo dock in search for drinking water. An autopsy showed that her death was caused by a head shot which penetrated the forehand. The vice chief of the Papuan regional police (POLDA Papua) Yakobus Marjuki stated in a public interview that the death was caused by a ricochet during a conflict escalation between police officers and local villagers.

Twenty minutes before the incident, mobile brigade officers had arrested three Papuan men who had allegedly stolen mineral concentrate at the Amamare cargo dock in the Mimika Timur Jauh District, from where the mining company PT Freeport Indonesia transports its minerals for further processing. One of the men jumped into the water in an attempt to escape the arrest and shouted for help. As Emakulata Emakeparo and her husband heard the cries for help, they wanted to see what was going on. Emakulata Emakeparo was using a flashlight to guide the way because it was already dark. Subsequently, her husband heard heard three shots and asked his wife to switch off the flashlight. A few moments later the husband realized that Emakulata Emakeparo was already shot and unconscious. The attempt to admit her to a local clinic at the port site came to late.

The head of Mimika District Police, Indra Hermawan, stated in a public interview that seven members of the police mobile brigade (Brimob) are under investigation in relation to the incident. However, it is still unclear if police officers will be held accountable for the killing. Ahmad Kamal, the spokesman of the Papuan Regional Police (POLDA Papua), claimed that the police officers released the shots because local residents tried to attack the officers after the perpetrator had cried for help while attempting to escape an arrest.