Beheadings and dumped bodies pile up as Indonesian special forces rampage again in Tingginambut

West Papua Media Alerts

Credible and disturbing reports are continuing to emerge from Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya, in the West Papuan highlands, detailing evidence of another violent rampage by the Indonesian army special forces (Kopassus) against civilians throughout May, allegedly by Kopassus officers stationed in the district which has been suffering war conditions since February.


The death toll is mounting, with six of the victims village chiefs and social leaders returning from invited attendance at the inauguration of new Papua Governor Lukas Enembe in Jayapura, and were intercepted, tortured and killed by Kopassus officers mounting a roadblock at Ilu on the Mulia road on May 8, 2013, according to preliminary evidence uncovered by human rights investigators in the field and provided to West Papua Media.

Photo: One of the victims, as yet unidentified. (supplied from human rights investigators)

At least 18 headless, mutilated or amputated bodies have since been confirmed found in roadside ditches and drains, and named as victims from around the Mulia and Pirime areas of Tingginambut, with unconfirmed but credible reports putting the total toll of the “mysterious killings” at over 41 people to date.  Activists from the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat or KNPB) have said that the discovery of so many bodies points to “a covert operation of killing and forced disappearances of indigenous Papuans in Puncak Jaya that has been operating since 1 April 2013 until now”.

Those confirmed dead are:

  1. Mili Tabuni (37),
  2. Sony Tabuni (35) ,
  3. Ella Enumbi. Born Mewoluk DOB 12 March 1986, Secondary school student at Mulia State School Class III, Male,
  4. Yerson Wonda,  Born at Wondagobak, Mulia, Male. Tertiary College Student in Technical Trade in Jayapura; Also worked as Secretary of KNPB Puncak Jaya Region at Puncak Jaya.
  5. Yos Kogoya (40) Former village head Mewoluk;
  6. Pauwuli Tabuni (35) Village Head of Regional District Tingginambut;
  7. Yaningga Tabuni (37) Village Head Regional District Yembuni Tingginambut;
  8. Tepaus Tabuni (40) Village Head of Regional District Tingginambut;
  9. Terius Enumbi (39) Shepherd of the Church of Kampung Kalome;  and
  10. Yemundan Enumby (35)
  11. Inoga Wonda,
  12. Deniti Telenggen,
  13. Telapina Morib,
  14. Aibon Tabuni,
  15. Yomiler Tabuni,
  16. Bongar Telenggen,
  17. Eramina Murib.
  18. Regina Tabuni.

West Papuan human rights activists in Puncak Jaya have also reported that women in villages under occupation by the TNI are being regularly raped by soldiers, with at least 12 documented cases since April and unconfirmed reports of many more.   Two female high school students among the dead were found to have been brutally raped and beaten in Tingginambut by Kopassus officers,   West Papua Media is not publishing the names of these sexual assault victims in line with ethical journalism practice.

Relatives of the a total of 30 missing adults are still searching across Puncak Jaya for their family members, though unconfirmed reports have emerged that Kopassus have arrested and detained at least 15 more people while searching for their family members.  Grave fears are being held for the safety of these detainees, with at least one case of torture believed to have occurred on family members.  According to statements from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a senior high-school aged youth of class III was arrested in the town area and is believed to have been tortured over a period of 2 weeks after which he was killed and beheaded, with his beheaded body placed in a sack and thrown under a bridge. His family is still hunting for his head, according the KNPB.

Wim Medlama, the spokesperson for the KNPB, told, “Every person in the community known for activist activities in Puncak Jaya has been interrogated such that the whole community is now terrified to even carry out their usual daily activities.”

TNI soldier aims .50 Calibre heavy machine gun at Papuan villagers in TIngginambut during recent sweep operations in May 2013 (Photo: supplied by indp human rights investogators)

Independent human rights investigator Yasons Sambon have just returned from Puncak Jaya interviewing surviving victims and witness who have pointed the finger at new Papua governor Lukas Enembe, detailing that six of the victims were returning as invited guests from Enembes inauguration in Jayapura.  Enembe’s electoral team provided the six with transport to attend the inauguration, but allegedly left them stranded in Jayapura after allegedly reneging on their transport home, however Enembe’s team finally covered their fares back to Wamena only after the Governor had arrived back in Jayapura from a visit to Jakarta..

On the afternoon of May 8, 2013, the six men,  (Yos Kogoya (40) Former village head Mewoluk; Pauwuli Tabuni (35) Village Head of Regional District Tingginambut; Yaningga Tabuni (37) Village Head Regional District Yembuni Tingginambut; Tepaus Tabuni (40) Village Head of Regional District Tingginambut; Terius Enumbi (39) Shepherd of the Church of Kampung Kalome;  and Yemundan Enumby (35) Society of Kampung Yembuni), left Wamena to return home by car to their villages in TIngginambut, Puncak Jaya, when they were stopped at the Ilu military infantry post on the Mulia road.  According to the testimony from surviving witnesses interviewed by Sambon, the victims were forced out of the car and were beaten and tortured whilst being interrogated by the soldiers and detained through the night.

The testimony provided by the witnesses reported that at 0800 the next morning (May 9), the victims were then confronted by” a number Kopassus officers in the middle of the road”, further adding that “Kopassus in Puncak Jaya were assigned to kill people in a way like the mafia”.  (Kopassus officers are regularly referred to across Indonesia as Mafia or gangsters, given their well-documented control of vast, well organised criminal cartels of drugs, money laundering, prostititution, illegal logging and mining, finance, human trafficking, and a myriad of other illegal business activities.)

Heavily armed Indonesian military look towards heir target, a small village near Mulia in the highlands of West Papua, during recent deployments (photo supplied by local human rights investigators)

“Then victim number 6 is tortured until killed by inhumane way, gunshot victims by Kopassus and cut the legs and head off, and waste (dumped) in different places,” the witness reported to Sambom.  Sambom described the witness as an ordinary villager who found the bodies of the chiefs, and who begged for his name not to be published for “fear he will be searched again by Kopassus and removed after being found as the the source of this news report”.

According to the sources interviewed by Sambom, “we found the victims dead, they (perpetrators) had dismembered the head and feet and hands in different places, we gathered all of the victim’s body.”   “Once we found them, we made a grave all in one place. Right now we’re done mourning, and sympathizers close to the family who came to pay respects had returned to their respective villages,” the village witness said.

“We now, all the people are afraid, because Kopassus kill again we are all scared,” he said.

Indonesian military interrogating villagers during a raid of unidentified village near Mulia, TIngginambut, during sweep operations, May 2013 (Photo supplied by indp human rights investigators)

The driver, who according to witnesses was a “newly posted” member of the State Intelligence Agency BIN provided by the pro-military Governor Enembe, has not been seen since, and witnesses have questioned if he was a participant in the murder of the Chiefs, or if he himself was murdered by the Kopassus officers seeking to cover their tracks.

According to sources from the KNPB, two more victims, Yerson Wonda – the Secretary of KNPB in the Puncak Jaya region  – and KNPB member and high school student  Ella Enumbi were also arrested by Kopassus at Ilu TNI post, then killed and their bodies beheaded. The body of Yerson Wonda and the head only of Ella Enumbi were thrown under a bridge in a sack, and their bodies were found on 26 April 2013.   KNPB News reported that “It is suspected that for two weeks following the date of their deaths that their bodies were hidden by Kopassus at the place of detention at the Kopassus Post at Purume (Pirime), Mulia. The family is still searching for the remainder of the body of Ella Enumbi.”

Sweep operations by Indonesian security forces have not lessened in intensity since December 2012, when a new phase of repression against local civilians and non-violent political activists began with the violent raids by joint Detachment 88 counter terror and TNI soldiers on the home villages of the KNPB political activists.  Several of those still missing include non-violent political activist members of the local chapter of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), which has seen a massive and violent crackdown led by new Australian trained Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian, the former head of the notorious counter-terror unit turned extrajudicial death squad, Detachment 88.

The area of the latest alleged TNI rampage is the same area in Sinak subdistrict, close to Mulia, where troops from General Goliat Tabuni’s West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) unit attacked Kopassus soldiers who had built a military post on a sacred burial ground in on February 21.  A massive influx of several thousand soldiers from the Indonesian Army’s (TNI) Kostrad (strategic reserve),  notorious locally based Indonesian battalions 753 and 756, several hundred Kopassus special forces soldiers, and members of the Australian-trained and funded Detachment 88 counter-tterror unit flooded into the area to hunt Tabuni’s unit.  Since the influx, constant operations have caused thousands of people to be displaced from their villages, whilst those remaining behind are subjected to arbitrary and brutal treatment from the military and police on a daily basis.  Hundreds of houses, livestock and food gardens have been destroyed in a collective punishment against civilians that breaches international laws on war crimes.
Disturbing footage from human rights investigators has also been released showing the brutal conduct of Indonesian troops terrorising unarmed civilians as they raid a unidentified village in Tingginambut during this years sweep operations.  The video can be viewed below.
The KNPB has reiterated a call made from local residents for human rights monitors to be present in the region.  “We urgently seek the help of KOMNAS HAM (National Human Rights Commission) in Papua, and any independent persons with humanitarian concerns to please immediately come to Puncak Jaya to investigate,” said Wim Medlama.  “These covert operations and mysterious killings are still to this moment continuing.”
Sambon also contacted General Tabuni by phone on May 23 and reported that Tabuni was shocked at the killings and denied involvement. “They are the people and the village head, not my TPNPB-OPM members who do not shoot” …  According to Tabuni, “the public spotlight is on me, why Goliath is silent? But the village head make themselves part of the Indonesian government, why should they be shot like that? I have no link related to this event. It is the responsibility of the Governor,” Tabuni said.