Military members reportedly killed two indigenous Papuans during routine inspection in Nduga Regency

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Military members have reportedly shot dead two indigenous Papuans, Elias Karunggu, the 40-year-old father and Selu Karunggu, 20-year-old son, at the military post near Masonggorak village, approximately half a kilometre away from Nduga’s largest town of Kenyam. The victims reportedly belonged to a group of 58 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the districts of Kegayem, Paro and Yenggelo. The IDPs had left their villages and lived in the jungle since the Indonesian government launched a widespread military operation against the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) in Nduga in December 2018. The group had decided to give up their shelter and move to the town of Kenyam due to food shortage and sicknesses in the refugee shelter.

Korban-Penembakan Kenyam Suara Papua editOn 18 July 2020, the 58 IDPs crossed the Kenyam river in twelve traditional canoes. When they saw a military post in the village of Masonggorak, they decided to pass the post as a group. The military members allegedly shot dead Elias Karunggu and his son, Selu Karunggu (see image on the right, source: Suara Papua) during the routine inspection of the group. According to media information, both victims originate from the Kegayem district in Nduga. Joint police and military forces brought both bodies to the general hospital in Kenyam (see intro image). On 19 July 2020, several hundred indigenous Papuans blocked the road to the airport in Kenyam and demanded that the bodies be released to the relatives. The protest remained peaceful.

The military members likely suspected Selu Karunggu and Elias Karunggu as TPN PB members. In a brief statement, the local TPN PB commander Egianus Kogeya condemned the killing of civilians and confirmed that both victims were not associated with the TPN PB. The Papuan Police Chief, Paulus Waterpauw and the Kodam XVII Cenderawasih military commander, Reza Nur Patria, have not commented on the incident so far.