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Papuan Catholic teenager killed in police shooting

Death occurred while mob was attacking a police station, priest says

ucanews.com reporter, Jayapura

ucanews.com reporter, Jayapura

Updated: May 24, 2019 09:57 AM GMT
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Papuan Catholic teenager killed in police shooting

Police patrol the town of Wagete in Papua's Deiyai district, where a teenage Catholic boy was allegedly killed in a police shooting. (Photo by Benny Mawel/ucanews.com)

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A Catholic teenager was killed when Indonesian police in Papua opened fire on a mob attacking a police station, according to a local parish priest.

Yulius Mote, 18, died on May 21 after being shot in the head outside the police station in the town of Wagete in Deiyai district.

The violence flared after another youth was wounded earlier when police attempted to arrest him for allegedly assaulting and trying to rob a motorist.

Police say the youth was wounded because he was threatening arresting officers with a bow and arrow.

According to Father Santon Tekege, parish priest of St. John the Baptist Church in Wagete, the shooting angered local residents who accused police of using excessive force.

A mob headed to the police station, which they then tried to set alight, the priest said.

"There were a lot of police who tried using tear gas to disperse the mob," Father Tekege said.

“They also opened fire killing 18-year-old Yulius Mote,” the priest said.

However, Papua Regional Police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal, denied anyone had been killed.

“Police only shot at the youth they tried to arrest earlier as he was suspected of being one of four men who tried to rob a motorist,” Kamal said.

John Gobay, a Papuan legislative council member said police had provoked the situation by their heavy-handed approach to dealing with local people, who he said were justifiably angry.

He mentioned another incident in August 2017 in which one person was killed and 12 others injured when police tried breaking up a protest against a construction firm building a bridge in the district.

"These two incidents prove that police have not changed their repressive and brutal approach to dealing with civilians," Gobay said.

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