A group of military members reportedly shot dead a Papuan student named Lemitur Wandik (27 years) on 9 November 2019 at Giling Batu Street in the highland town of Karubaga, Tolikara Regency. Three of Lemitur’s friends were injured during the incident. One of them, Yakoka Wandik, was taken into custody at the Tolikara District Police station. Residents had called the military personnel to settle a dispute between migrant traders and a group of indigenous Papuans.
The military members arrived at the location around 11.30 am. According to witness reports, Lemitur Wandik and his friends were at the site of crime without being involved in the dispute. They tried to escape in panic as the military members released warning shots to disperse the crowd. Subsequently, the soldiers took aimed shots at Lemitur and his friends, because they thought that the young men were the perpetrators.
The spokesperson of XVII Cenderawasih Military Command, Eko Daryanto, claimed that Lemitur Wandik and his friends threatened traders with machetes and vandalised their stores under influence of alcoholic drinks. According to Daryanto, his men opened fire at Lemitur because he attempted to attack the military members with a machete. One of the military members was allegedly injured during the incident.