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Tabuni intentionally killed, say activists

Official report that activist resisted arrest 'is just a sham'

  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • June 15, 2012
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Papuan activists today disputed the official story of the killing of an independence activist yesterday, which sparked violent clashes with security forces in the restive province.

Mako Tabuni, deputy chairman of the National Committee for West Papua, was shot and killed yesterday by police after they say he resisted arrest.

News of the shooting sparked widespread rioting, during which one man was stabbed to death and shops and vehicles were burned.

Marthen Goo, head of the National Papuan Solidarity, dismissed police accounts, which suggested that Tabuni was a suspect in a recent spate of shootings in Papua.

“He wasn’t a separatist. He was a young activist who had fought for change in Papua so that Papuans can be free from oppression.”

He added that Tabuni’s death was a targeted killing.

“The police intentionally accuse Papuans of being masterminds of the series of shootings recently in Papua. This is because the police fail to reveal the real perpetrators,” he added.

Earlier, national police chief General Timur Pradopo said that Tabuni was killed after he grabbed a weapon from an officer attempting to arrest him and fled.

Goo denied any such claim.

“The national police chief’s statement shows [the police’s] failure. What really happened is that the officer shot Tabuni from far away. The national police chief wanted to deceive people,” he said.

Reports say that the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence , whose representatives interviewed people who witnessed he shooting, also said Tabuni was suddenly and unexpectedly shot by a gunman in one of several cars on the street as he walked alone near a housing complex in Waena.

Meanwhile, Poengky Indarti from the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor  said that the police should have gone through a proper legal process before accusing Tabuni of being a perpetrator of the shooting cases and then killing him.

Even if Tabuni was resisting arrest, she said, the police should not have responded so violently.

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