The Independent Humanitarian Team for Intan Jaya is a team consisting of a number of religious leaders, academics, and humanitarian activists in Papua. This team was formed to respond to the murder of Pastor Yeremia Zanambani, who was killed on September 19, 2020, in Hitadipa, Intan Jaya. After submitting its report to Minister Mahfud, the team has publicly shared details of their investigation. The following are the findings as described in the document “Findings of the Humanitarian Team for Intan Jaya Papua” released by the team on 29 October 2020. The document provides thorough information and suggests that Rev Zanambani was killed by one or more members of the army.
First, Intan Jaya’s Geo-Political Economy
The District of Intan Jaya District faces economic and socio-political challenges that have reduced the quality of security for civilians. This insecurity and instability has led to conflict, which has also been heavily influenced by the dispute over the results of local elections. This situation prevents the Regional Government of Intan Jaya from serving its citizens.
In contrast to governance performance and a very vulnerable security situation, the natural resources sector has a lot of potential especially in terms of gold deposits. The deposits are located on Bula Mountain, where the villages of Yoparu, Sambili, Mamba, Yokatapa, Wandoga, Bilogai, Kumbalagupa, Ugimba, Gamagai, Bilundoga and Mindo are located. All of these are in the Districts of Sugapa and Ugimba. In almost all of the above locations, Freeport Indonesia has carried out mining exploration between 1990 and 2015. Since 2015 these mine sites are no longer managed by Freeport Indonesia.
Second, Hitadipa as the Holy Land of Church Mission
Hitadipa is a District (Kecamatan) which consists of 9 villages, with a population of approximately 11,467 people. Hitadipa District administrative centre is in Hitadipa village. In the middle it is crossed by the Hiabu river. Hitadipa Village was the Church’s first mission land, in 1962, and is now known as Tana Lapang or the Garden of Eden, for the spread of the Church’s mission in Intan Jaya. Therefore, in Hitadipa, many facilities have been built as centres for social activities, such as airstrips or airplane runways. The first Theology School in the area is located here, and it has even become a graduate school for young people from various surrounding mountain areas studying (theology), such as Lani Jaya and Puncak Jaya.
In the Hitadipa district there are several clans from the Moni, Wandagau, Bilambani, Kobogau, Sami, Maisini and Janambani tribes. The chief of the Moni tribe in Hitadipa is Markus Majau. In Hitadipa district there is no Police office (Polsek) — the standard unit for a kecamatan or district. A Sub-District Military Command (Koramil), an organic military unit at the sub-district or district level, has only existed since October 2019. Prior to October, no Polsek or Koramil or security or military units existed, and there was no violence in Hitadipa. At the village level, there are no Babinsa — the organic unit of the army under the Koramil.
Third, the increase of Army troops in Hitadipa
The establishment of the Koramil in Hitadipa, around October 2019, was due to the shooting of three motorcycle taxi drivers. All three were non-Papuan and were not Hitadipa residents but from Sugapa. Starting in October 2019, the Army began to prepare itself to settle down in Hitadipa by finding a location. The Hitadipa community carried out customary deliberations (musyawarah adat) to determine what land location should be given to the Army. The location chosen was on the hill, called Umbuapa. However, the Army or Koramil did not continue the effort to establish the Koramil office. In December, when many people had left for their districts and villages, the Army occupied the YPPGI Joint Elementary and Junior High School in Hitadipa. The school is being used as the headquarters of the Koramil in Hitadipa to this day. There are an estimated 75 Army members at the Koramil. After the events of 17 September 2020, the Army members at the Koramil increased by 30 people.
Meanwhile in Intan Jaya, after the shooting and killing of Pastor Jeremiah the number of troops increased, as well as the existing troops such as organic and non-organic troops; including Brawijaya 433 Troops, Kopassus 1 Squad, and Infantry 753 Troops. The continued increase in these troops enabled the confiscation and use of local government facilities, such as the offices of the Environment Agency, ESDM and KPUD, as military headquarters.
Fourth, Pastor Yeremiah — Firm and Respected
Pastor Yeremia, is the former Head of the GKII Diocese of Hitadipa Intan Jaya; until his death the Pastor was the Chairperson of the Theological Bible College in Hitadipa as well as an advisor to GKII Region 3 Papua in Hitadipa Intan Jaya. The Pastor routinely served in the two areas of Janambu and Bulapa. For Janambu, which is close to Hitadipa, if you are walking, and leave in the morning, by afternoon you can return to Hitadipa; While Bulapa, is quite far. Usually the Pastor had to stay overnight, leave Saturday morning and return only Sunday afternoon. The Pastor was a linguist, a translator of scriptures from Indonesian to Moni. His activities often meant that he had to travel to Timika. After he was head of the Diocese, the Pastor, taught at the First Theology School in Sugapa from Mondays to Thursdays. While teaching, the Pastor did not return. He only returned from Friday to Sunday to Hitadipa. The Pastor was known as someone with principles and firm character. An example of this is his search for two children from Hitadipa who have been missing since April 21, 2020.
Fifth, a Long Succession of Violence in Hitadipa
We found out that in the past year, there were a series of events that occurred in Hitadipa District, in the form of armed clashes between the Army/Police and TPNPB-OPM violence against Hitadipa civilians as well as the seizure of local people’s homes. This started from the shooting of 3 motorcycle taxi drivers in 2019. On December 17, 2019, there was another shooting of 2 members of the Indonesian Army by TPNPB-OPM. Armed contact between the two parties increased after the incident and had a direct impact on local residents. Several locations for shooting during this month include Kulapa village (Hitadipa District), Ndugusiga Village (Sugapa District), Bulapa Village (Sugapa District), and Ugimba Village (Ugimba District). These various incidents are inseparable from the series of troop deployments during December in several regencies, including Intan Jaya. Security forces also occupied YPPGI Joint Elementary and Junior Secondary School in Hitadipa, which caused fear from teachers and school children.
At the beginning of 2020, the violence escalated. On January 26, 2020, Alex Kobogau, a civilian died from Army gunfire. The security apparatus stated that Alex was a TPNPB-OPM combatant, however the residents stated that Alex was a civilian. On the same day, a child, Jackson Sondegau (8 years old) was shot in the stomach while Yopi Sani Yegeseni (14 years) was tortured during detention by the security forces.
Violence continued on February 20, 2020, when two other civilians namely Kayus Sani (51 years), a Yoparu tribal chief and Melki Tipagau (11 years), a grade VI YPPK Bilogai Elementary School student in Sugapa died after being shot by the Army. At the same time, Martina Sani (12 years) had to be treated for gunshot wounds. Also, during February, thousands of residents fled their homes and were unable to carry out normal activities. On May 22, 2020, Yunus Sani was killed by the TPNPB-OPM because the victim was suspected of being a spy.
This series of events shows an escalation of violence which not only resulted in casualties from the security services and combatants, but also more victims from civil society including children. The typology of violence experienced by civil society during the period October 2019 – September 2020 includes: intimidation, threats, mental and physical terror, coercion, sweeping, persecution, enforced disappearances and murder. The layered trauma and powerlessness due to the violence and deprivation of the right to life have resulted in prolonged suffering in the local communities.
Incident of Enforced Disappearances
The incident, on April 21, 2020, started with a sweeping (checking) activity for the prevention of Covid19 by members of the Army with the public in Sugapa. From these activities, 3 people were taken. Of the three, 1 person was released. The other two people were not released. They were taken to the Sugapa Army Koramil headquarters. After that, the two people were never seen again. Because they were taken during the Covid19 checks, the family suspected that the two were positive for Covid19, so they thought that after two weeks they would be released. However, in that two week period, the family was contacted or notified of their whereabouts or status. After two weeks the family came and asked the Army about their whereabouts. The Army admitted that the two people were detained by the Army, but they did not clarify regarding their condition and whereabouts at that time. Pastor Yeremiah was one of 4 family members asked to follow up on the situation. In a meeting attended by officials from the Regency and the local Army and Police leadership, the Pastor had emphatically and directly addressed the Commander stating „if they are dead, please show me where the grave is, so the family can grieve. If they are still alive, please return them”.
Events September 17-19
• On September 17, around 12 noon, shots were fired at a group of Army members, in Sugapa Lama, resulting in 1 member dying and 1 long barrel gun belonging to the Army to be taken by the TPNPB-OPM;
• After the attack, the people of Hitadipa were summoned one by one (not all residents were summoned), to notify them that the lost weapons that were taken by the TPNPB-OPM were to be returned immediately. The Pastor was asked to announce this and also the residents were asked to send people to other villages in Hitadipa district, with the same message for the weapons to be returned. The message was accompanied by a threat that if it wasn’t returned the Hitadipa district would be bombed. This practice continued to September 18, the next day.
• On September 19, at around 9 am, the community members were gathered by Army members in the field in front of the Koramil office, led by the Commander, who told the community that they had two days to return the weapons that were seized on September 17, and if not returned within those two days, then a crackdown operation would be carried out on the residents. He further ordered two youth to find Melianus Wandagau, the head of the Moni tribe in Sugapa Lama — the location of the weapons seizure on 17 September.
• On the same day, around 12 o’clock, the people were gathered again in front of the Imanuel 1 Church by Alpius, a member of the Army Koramil, who said, “The Pastor has never taught the 10 laws of God to the congregation. The Pastor does not teach the congregation or the community. The 10 Commandments are clear that you should not kill people, but you kill people.” Alpius also said that “The People or the Hitadipa people who have become enemies, opponents and are at war with me (Army/Police)) are, among others, Jimi Sani, Rev. Yeremia Zanambani, Rev. Yakobus Maiseni, Mrs. Ev. Naomi Kobogau / Maiseni, Roni Majau and Amoli Wandagau”. As a result of this statement all the men and women, including the Pastors and church leaders cried in front of Alpius.
• Around 13:00PM TPNPB- OPM shot from the north towards the Headquarters of the Hitadipa Koramil, to be precise, the YPPGI Elementary School Building, and as a result, one Personnel from the BKO Aptekel Koramil for Hitadipa died.
• A few minutes later, at 13.55 the Army carried out retaliatory shooting towards the northern part of Hitadipa village in the Hiyabu River Estuary and Dogabu River areas for approximately 30 minutes;
• At around 14:55 Mrs Meriam Zoani/Zanambani wife of the late Pastor Zanambani met a group of Army members, at the end of Hitadipa airfield. There were a lot of them in a row of 50-60 meters long, led by Alpius. Mrs Meriam was surprised and afraid when she saw the group. Mrs Meriam was a little relieved when she saw Alpius, the leader of the troops at Hitadipa, and the two of them even had a chance to look in each other’s eyes. Mrs Meriam and the Pastor had considered Alpius like their own child because Alpius often came to their house to bathe, ask for food, eat together, or get water for his garden. Alpius himself used to call Meriam “Mama”. Mrs Meriam and the Pastor also knew that Alpius often spent time with the community and got to know the residents well. At this meeting Alpius asked Mrs Meriam, “Did Mama see people? Mrs Meriam answered, “No”. “Did Mama see people on the street?” she answered, “no”. And answered further, that “she spent the day only with the Pastor, who is currently still in the Pigpen”. Then a third question was asked by Alpius, “So is Bapak (Mr) in the pigpen?” and Mrs Meriam answered, “Yes”.
• At 15:25 Army members with full uniforms passed the Hiyabu River main bridge; Arriving at Taundugu Village, one person guarded the road, while another Army member went down to Taunduga Village and immediately burnt the Health Building and the Health Staff Houses used by the community in Taundugu. The reason why the Army Members burnt the Health Facilities and Community Homes was that the TPNPB-OPM hid behind the Community Buildings and Houses when one Army member was killed on 19 September 2020 and died. As a result, the residents experienced losses in the form of the loss of residence, children’s elementary and junior high school certificates were burnt, household equipment was burnt, one motorbike was burnt, and the government-owned health facilities were burnt.
• At 15.30 WIT 4 members of the Army headed for the Pastor’s pigpen. Two Army members stood 23.79 meters from the main Intan Jaya Regency road, while 2 other members including Alpius, and went straight to the pigpen.
• Immediately there was a command “raise your hands! And the Pastor answered while raising his hand, saying that I am a “Servant of God”; two Army members fired 2 shots, one shot to the left hand and the other shot towards the wall. The Pastor fell and was allegedly stabbed with a sharp knife in the back of the body.
• Around 18:00 PM in the afternoon, the weather was getting dark, the Pastor had not returned. Ibu Meriam ventured to the Pigpen to meet the Pastor. When she arrived at the pigpen, she found the Pastor had fallen on the ground in the physical condition lying down on the ground, prone (front of the body facing the ground), covered in blood. However, the Pastor was still able to communicate verbally. Mrs Meriam asked “why?” (What happened?). The pastor replied, “The people who we fed are the ones who shot and stabbed”. The Pastor had a gunshot wound to his upper left hand, which was quite severe and was bleeding a lot. In addition, the priest was also stabbed with a military knife, bayonet at the back of his upper body, and the back of his neck. This wound was also causing a lot of bleeding.
• Seeing this condition, Mrs Meriam went to the house of Yulita Zanambani, a resident who lives near the location of the pigpen. Yulita lives with Yohana Bagobau. Mrs Meriam asked both of them for help and to go to the pigpen, and see and look after the Pastor. She then went to the house of Yusak Janambani, from Hitadipa, whose house was quite far from the pigpen. Her goal was to ask for help. Arriving there, she found that there were many residents at Yusak’s house, silent, because they were afraid. Mrs Meriam told Yusak and the others that the army had shot the Pastor.
• Everyone was silent, and only one of them asked Mrs Meriam, “is the Pastor still alive?” She answered “still”. Ibu Meriam joined the residents at Yusak’s house until the morning. She was not allowed to leave the house.
Sixth, Pastor Jeremiah’s Bullet Wounds
The shooting above, of Pastor Yeremia, was carried out with a standard military firearm at a distance of approximately 1 meter; the object hit his body with one bullet to the upper left hand; on the skin there are visible vertical straight slices ranging from 7-10 centimetres; these are not just skin wounds from bullets; his hands were almost cut off; the remains of the bullet were not found, and none of the witnesses who initially picked up the victim or accompanied the victim after the incident found rifle bullets; wounds were also found on the upper back of the victim’s body, allegedly caused by a sharp weapon. This resulted in a wound that was bleeding profusely.
Seventh, Traumatised People and Self-Evacuation
As a result of the various violent incidents, the people of Hitadipa District have either gradually made themselves safe or evacuated themselves from their homes. The climax was when Pastor Yeremia was murdered. Shortly after the priest was buried, at around 11 noon on September 20, 2020, people fled to the forests, and to a number of other areas in the neighbouring regency. Until now there has been no data collection on those who have taken refuge outside the regency, and as a result they have not received assistance and economic guarantees, security and any certainty about returning to their villages.
The people of Hitadipa District hope that (1) they can return to their homes to continue their life. Likewise, with the families of the victims, they hope that (2) they can come back to be able to perform mourning services over the death of Pastor Yeremiah Zanambani. Furthermore (3) they hope that the Army, both Organic and Non-Organic troops no longer have a presence in Hitadipa, apart from being traumatized, the community believes that Hitadipa is the holy land of Church Mission where violent practices are not allowed.
The victim’s family also conveyed that (4) they refuse to take an autopsy for two reasons: a lot of evidence and testimonies have been given in order to punish the perpetrators of this case; also the reopening of graves is contrary to traditional values in Papua, and will have a bad impact on the family.
1. Demand the President of the Republic of Indonesia to order the Army Commander to withdraw troops and stop military operations in Intan Jaya;
2. Demand the National Commission on Human Rights to immediately conduct an investigation into the alleged (serious) human rights violations in Hitadipa;
3. Demand the Governor of Papua to assist the Regional Government of Intan Jaya in carrying out psychosocial healing for the traumatized Hitadipa community.