Raids, mass arrests and torture by security forces in Yahukimo

Joint security forces have launched raids in the town of Dekai, the largest city in the Yahukimo regency, Papua Province. The raids took place as part of the investigation into three murder cases, which occurred in the second half of August 2020 and in which all victims were migrants. The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) has claimed responsibility for two of the murders. According to an official TPN PB statement, two of the victims, one a lumberjack and the other a construction worker, were allegedly affiliated with the Indonesian state intelligence. The third victim was a staff of the local election commission (KPU). The security force members searched multiple houses and seized traditional weapons, hunting gear, gardening tools, and other items with the morning star symbol. Local human rights defenders claimed that sixteen residents were reportedly arrested and temporarily detained. Two persons were allegedly tortured during police detention. On 2 September 2020, the local police Chief, Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo, mentioned in an interview with the media outlet Suara Papua a total number of 14 arrestees  He stated that all of them were released.

The raid began on 31 August 2020, around 6.00 am. Joint police and military members searched various houses in the Telkomsel complex. According to the information received, many indigenous people living in the area feared reprisals by the security force members and sought shelter in the surrounding forests. The police announce they would continue to conduct raids until the perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.

Police officers tortured at least two arrestees during police custody at the Yahukimo district police station (Polres Yahukimo). Yafet Amohoso was beaten and sustained a bleeding injury on the mouth. Tinus Yalak’s hands showed marks of the tight handcuffs and bruises in the face from beatings.

Names of arrestees during the security force raid:

1. Ronal Mirin
2. Arnold Mirin
3. Jemias Nipsan
4. Akul Heluka
5. Irom Heluka
6. Tinus Yalak
7. Denis Yalak
8. Bimba Yalak
9. Etenus Mirin
10. Banus Ossu
11.Yafet Amohoso
12. Napy Pahabol
13. Denis Yalak
14. Pimpa Yalak
15. Nafet Nawa
16. Yafet Ilintamon