Lethal shooting in Puncak Regency –Three more dead bodies discovered

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Only three days after security force members allegedly shot dead seventeen-year-old Atanius Murib and injured seventeen-year-old Manus Murib with bullets, three more bodies were found at the Limbaga Mountain, Gome District. The civil servant Akis Alom, 34, and two pupils named Gopenus Tabuni, 17, [see photo below] and twelve-year-old Wenis Wonda [see photo on top] had been missing since 20 November 2020, the same day as security force members opened fire at Manus Murib and Atanius Murib. The three indigenous Papuans were on their way from the Agandugume District to Ilaga, the largest town in the Puncak Regency, where Gopenus and Wenis went to school. Relatives assumed that they passed the Limbaga Mountain around 12.00 pm, approximately 60 to 90 minutes after the previous shooting.

The ICP received a video of the evacuation through its network with Papuan human rights defenders. The bodies were reportedly discovered on 24 November 2020. The video was shared on social media and showed a group of Papuan men wrapping the bodies in tarps. At the time of the evacuation, rigor mortis had already set in. It is currently not known who evacuated the bodies and to what location they have been brought.

The spokesperson of the Kogabwilhan III Military Command, Colonel Suriastawa, claimed in an interview with the media outlet Jubi, that the crime might have been committed by disguised members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB).

A group of students from the Puncak Regency announced on 23 November 2020 that they will form a fact-finding team to investigate the case and collect information on the ground. At the time of the announcement, the three villagers were still reported missing. The victims’ relatives stressed that none of the deceased was associated with the TPN PB. They called upon the police not to make public announcements which ignored the testimony of the Manus Murib as the only survivor. They also urged the police to immediately conduct an independent investigation into both shootings at the Limbaga Mountain to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Bodies of Akis Alom (left) and Gopenus Tabuni (right) shortly after being discovered at the Limbaga Mountain, Puncak Regency

Akis Alom leftGopenus Tabuni right edit