Haris Azhar speaks at a press conference yesterday on recent violence in Papua
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence
has criticized what it sees as the government’s scant attention to conflicts that happened in Papua within the last two months, during which dozens of people were reportedly killed.
“KontraS recorded that in July and August, at least eight incidents of violence and shootings happened in Papua. In all, 25 people -- 19 civilians and six military personnel -- died and dozens of others were injured,” Haris Azhar, the commission’s coordinator, said at a press conference here yesterday.
Gunfire between military personnel and an unidentified armed group erupted on July 5 in Kalome hamlet in Puncak Jaya district, leaving three soldiers injured. On July 12, another gun battle in the hamlet between military personnel and an armed group took place, which injured four civilians.
On July 13, a skirmish between military personnel and an armed group allegedly led by Goliath Tabuni broke out in Mulia in Puncak Jaya district, leaving four military personnel injured. Other shootings were reported on July 21 in Yambi hamlet in Puncak Jaya district, killing one government soldier.
Ashar further identified several other unexplained shootings and incidents of violence in July and early this month, which reportedly killed or injured dozens more.
“We see that this situation is evidence of the government’s powerlessness in dealing with the situation in Papua. This situation creates an impression that the government pays little attention to the dialogue initiated by the Peaceful Network of Papua and other civilians,” Azhar said.
He added that the government was the only party to be held responsible for the violence, not simply by deploying soldiers and police but by implementing accountability and control in the absence of a law regulating military intervention.
“We hope the president of the Republic of Indonesia can immediately take strategic steps by coordinating with the … minister for legal, political and security affairs, the minister of defence and armed forces, and police commanders so as to create a united vision before making polices for Papua,” Azhar said.
Government ‘must stop Papua violence’
Papua Church leaders want fair talks