Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta
Updated: September 23, 2020 05:51 AM GMT
Indonesian soldiers take part in a military exercise in this April 2019 file photo. Soldiers have been accused of shooting dead Protestant pastor Yeremia Zanambani in Papaua province on Sept. 19 (Photo: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)
Angry Protestants in Indonesia have demanded a thorough investigation into the murder of a pastor shot dead in the restive province of Papua last week.
The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), an umbrella group of Protestant denominations in the country, made the demand in a letter sent to President Joko Widodo, a copy of which was received by UCA News on Sept. 22.Reverend Yeremia Zanambani of the Gospel Tabernacle Church of Indonesia (GKII) was found dead outside his residence in Hitadipa, a village in Intan Jaya district, on Sept. 19.
His killing sparked a war of words between separatists and the military over who was responsible.“We want the president to pay serious attention to the arbitrary shooting that killed Reverend Yeremia Zanambani, a God’s servant,” the PGI said in its two-page letter to Widodo.The GKII and local media said the shooting was committed by soldiers conducting a sweep in the area. However, the military denied any involvement in the killing and accused separatists of shooting the pastor, according to national media reports.
The police also denied the security forces were responsible, saying no policemen or soldiers were in the area“Of course, it is not easy for us to clarify the incident. Therefore, we want the president to immediately order the national police chief to conduct a thorough investigation and bring those responsible to court. We suggest that an independent fact-finding team is formed,” the PGI said in its letter.It was signed by the group’s chairman, Reverend Gomar Gultom, and general secretary Reverend Jacklevyn F. Manuputty.
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.