Police officers shoot two indigenous Papuans in Deiyai Regency – one victim dead another injured

According to information received from the Secretariat for Justice and Peace (SKP) of the Catholic Deanery in Tigi and the Papuan Tabernacle Church (KINGMI Papua) joint security force members shot dead Yulianus Mote (18 years). Melianus Dogopia (18 years) was severelly injured by a bullet in a related incident which also occured in the regency of Deiyai, Papua Province. On 21 May 2019, around 4.00 pm, Melianus Dogopia and three of his friends stopped a public transportation vehicle near the Timipotu market in Waghete Town and asked the driver for 10.000 IDR (approximately 60 € cents) and cigarettes. The four youths were intoxicated. The driver refused to give them money or cigarettes, so the young Papuan men did not allow the car to pass by. The situation escalated into a brawl between the four indigenous Papuans and the driver. As the driver pulled a knife attempting to attack the four men, an angry mob of bystanders playing volleyball in the nearby school yard started to throw stones at the driver and his vehicle. One of the stones broke the windshield of the vehicle.



It is believed that the driver reported the incident to the Tigi sub-district police station. However, witnesses saw that police officers in a patrol car spoke with Melianus and his friends shortly after the dispute. Thereupon, the friends went home. The police officers allegedly followed Melianus Dogopia home, surrounded his house and fired shots into the air calling on Melianus Dogopia to leave the house. Being angry that the police officers had followed him to his house, Melianus Dogopia picked up his bow and arrow and ran outside. The police officers first retreated to the main road again firing several shots. As Melianus Dogopia reached the main road one police officer aimed and fired at him. Melianus Dogopia sustained a bullet injury in the left thigh and was hospitalized in the general hospital in Waghete. He was later transferred to the Siriwini General Hospital in the city of Nabire because the Waghete hospital did not have the medical capacities to remove the bullet.

The shooting triggered a subsequent mob attack on the Tigi Sub-district Police Station. At 6.00 pm, an angry mob of relatives and villagers attacked the police station, setting parts of the building and several police vehicles on fire. After the incident, 753 military special force units and mobile police brigade (BRIMOB) units from the neighbouring regencies Moanemani, Dogiyai, Panaiai and Enarotali came to Waghete to back-up the local police. Joint security forces forcefully dispersed the crowd using live ammunition and tear gas in various locations in Waghete.

At 10.00. Yulius Mote wanted to check the security condition in went to the Idege area of Waghete town, where he used to work in a small repair workshop. As Yulius Mote reached the small Samsung store next to the local Papua Bank branch office, security forces opened fire at him. Yulius Mote sustained a bullet injury on the head. The bullet pierced his right eye, exiting at the back of his head, causing instant death on the spot.

On 22 May 2019 the Papuan Regional Police (POLDA Papua) conducted a police internal investigation in the case. However, the team was unabl to identify suspects in relation to the killing of Yulius Mote.  Yulianus Mote’s family buried his body on 23 May 2019 in front of the Tigi Sub-district police station as a symbolic act for the police violence.