Police officer opens fire at indigenous villager in Sorong Selatan

On 20 July 2021, a member of the Sorong Selatan District Police with the initials OD reportedly attacked and tortured 46-year-old Nicolas Kemerai (see photo, source: Jubi) in the Bariat village, Sorong Selatan regency. The torture was meant to be a punishment for a broken timber deal. According to media outlet Jubi, OD was running a liquor business and had given 20 litres of liquor in return for two ironwood trees on Mr Kemerai’s land. As Mr Kemerai ‘s relatives prevented OD from cutting the trees, OD became angry and drove to Nicolas Kemerai’s house to take revenge.

OD was allegedly intoxicated as he arrived at Mr Kemerai’s house in Biarat. When Nicolas Kemerai came out of his house, OD kicked him three times to the body until Mr Kemerai fell on the ground. Thereupon, OD pulled his gun and released five aimed shots at Nicolas Kemerai. Mr Kemerai was able to avoid the shots but suffered multiple bruises from the kicks. The incident was reportedly witnessed by several relatives.

Mr Kemerai and his relatives filed an official complaint to local police, which has launched the first investigations into the case. The victim called upon the police to hold OD accountable for the attack in accordance with the law. The head of Bairat village strongly condemned fraudulent practices, using liquor to convince indigenous peoples of releasing their land or resources.

The Sorong Selatan police chief, Choiruddin Wachid, has not yet commented on the incident.