Two Papuans shot dead in Mimika - Military members allegedly mistook victims for resistance fighters

The circle of violence in West Papua continues as the aggravating armed conflict in the regency of Mimika resulted in the displacement of over 1,500 civilians, the killing of a Freeport worker and the arrest of a human rights defender and her relatives. Now, human rights defenders and media outlets reported the killing of two Papuan young men by members of the Indonesian military on 13 April 2020. According to relatives, Eden Armando Bebari (20 years) and Ronny Wandik (23 years) left around 8.00 am and went to a river at Mile 34 inside the Freeport concession area to catch fish. In the evening, relatives looked for Eden and Ronny because they had not returned to their homes. Their relatives only found the motorcycles at Mile 34. Around 11.30 pm, rumors spread in the town of Timika that soldiers of the military mobile border security unit Gab YR 712 and YR 900 had shot dead two members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB). The following day, the relatives were informed that the bodies of Eden and Ronny had been brought to the public hospital in Mimika.

Victim EJK Timika 2 editOn 15 April 2020 Asaribab and the Chief of the Papuan Regional Police (Polda Papua), Paulus Waterpauw, came to Timika where they met with the victims’ families. During the public meeting, a representative of the deceased relatives read aloud a statement. The families reemphasized that Eden Bebari and Ronny Wandik were not associated with the TPN PB and demanded that the case should not be politicized. They expressed their expectation that the perpetrators should be held accountable in accordance with the law and immediately be dismissed from military service. Eden Bebari’s relatives claimed that Eden did not wear any bracelet with the Morning Star symbol as displayed in an image which was presumably taken by the perpetrators (see image on the right). XVII Cenderawasih military commander, Herman Asaribab, announced during a meeting with the victims’ relatives that he will appoint a team to investigate the incident.

The human rights organisations Amnesty International Indonesia (AII) expressed concerns over the aggravating conflict situation in Mimika which resulted in the killings of civilians. AII director Usman Hamid stated in an interview that the law enforcement institutions should process the case as an extra-judicial killing, which needs to be brought before a civilian court. Hamid invoked article 65 (2) of Law No. 34/2004 about the Indonesian Military, which stipulates that military members are subject to the power of military jurisprudence if they violate military criminal law, and subject to the power of general jurisprudence in the case of violations of general criminal law. He stressed that the killing of Eden Bebari and Ronny Wandik constitutes a general criminal violation.