Shooting in Mimika: Synergy between security forces and community leaders in Papua must be optimized

(Photo Credit: ceposonline)

Amid the COVID-19 exposure, the West Papua region in Indonesia has just recently been struck by the shooting of its locals by the security forces. The incident should be immediately be investigated and handled by the law. If not, this will set a grave precedent for the presence of the security authorities there. However, the complexity of the situation in the region (Papua and Papua Barat Provinces) must not profoundly be considered. The hard work between prominent local actors there to assure security in both Papua and West Papua must continue to improve its pattern and optimization.

At least two people were shot by the security forces in Papua Province, precisely at MP 34 area of ​​PT. Freeport Indonesia Kuala Kencana, Mimika Regency, Monday (13/4). The two victims were Eben Bebari (20) and Rony Wandik (23). This news has been confirmed by the security authorities (TNI-POLRI) and various media (Papuainside, Cendrawasih Pos, etc.).

Local security authorities stated that the two were involved in separatist activities. Evidence found at the site includes two homemade rifles, a KKSB emblem flag bracelet, a pack of cigarettes, two Yamaha Mio motorcycle keys, ten areca nuts, one small noken containing seven ammunition caliber 5.56 mm.

The Head of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights Papua and West Papua Representative (Komnas HAM) Frits Ramandey recently commented on the media. According to the complaint of one of the victim’s families, the two youths who were shot dead were not involved in the armed criminal separatist group (KKSB).

“Komnas HAM has coordinated with the Papua Regional Police and Kodam XVII / Cenderawasih in this case. However, there has been no clarification regarding the case that occurred in Mimika, which killed two civilians,” said Frits, as reported by Cenderawasih Pos Tuesday (4/14).

Regarding complaints from victims’ families, Komnas HAM has reminded the Papua regional security authorities to enforce the law on the targeted criminal and separatist groups, not to innocent civilians.

“The shooting (if later proven) that made civilians victims shows that they (the securities) are not yet well-structured,” Frits regretted.

Investigation and legal measures will follow

Related to this case, on 14/4, Commander of Papua Military Office, Maj. Gen. Herman Asaribab and Papua Regional Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw left for Mimika. Papuainside reports that they visited Mimika after receiving reports that security forces shot two civilians.

The report explained that the incident occurred Monday (4/13). Although the chronology of the incident has widely circulated in various media, official information and clarification from the security authorities have seemed to be slow to be clarified. Even now, the official report has not yet appeared, only media quotations from the two TNI-POLRI leaders circulated.

As a result, the case has transformed into unclear rumors as only the media that claim (again the media, not the authority) that the two victims were not related to the rebel group. And, probably for this reason, the security authority leaders went directly to Mimika. They came to see the victim and meet the victim’s family.

Mr. Herman ensured that legal procedures would run parallel with the currently on-going investigation. The two-star general of the Indonesian Army said that the legal procedure is to be carried out by existing regulations. “There are also legal processes going on,” he added. Moreover, he also expressed his sincere condolences for the victims and the families.

Mr. Paulus said a similar point. He said he mourned the incident that caused two deaths. “Yes, our task today is how we immediately convey our condolences to the people, then prepare all the processes up to the funeral of the two deceased,” he explained.

Synergy between actors

Just to refresh our memory, when various elements of society in the provinces of Papua and West Papua are busy dealing with the coronavirus epidemic, several shooting incidents that claimed lives followed suit, including the one discussed in this piece. The other one is related to a quarrel between members of the Army with the police on Sunday (04/12/2020 morning). As a result, three members of the Mamberamo Raya District Police died.

These unfortunate events reflect the many social gaps that need to be filled in managing the complex context of Papua and West Papua provinces. The presence of security forces there, as in all regions of the world, is certainly still needed.

The security forces’ presence has become the protocol for the administration of modern government. The presence of security forces is to protect the security of residents from all forms of criminal acts. In this sense, the security forces play a similarly important role with other actors in ensuring all regions in Indonesia, especially Papua and West Papua, run and develop safely.

However, it is essential to note that if regional actors do not work well together, the result will be social insecurity. These actors include, but not limited to, regional political leaders, customary leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, human rights and education activits, the media, and leaders of the security forces (TNI-POLRI).

Without synergy, each actor could feel as though they are most meritorious and play a selfish role in determining the security and progress of Papua. That situation, of course, should never be an option. Therefore, those above relevant actors must ensure that they cooperate in the local context, in this case, West Papua and Papua.

A such, any, if not all, unwanted shooting case can be avoided. Even if there must be a fire battle, such a confrontation decision has been taken based on comprehensive analysis and consideration. So, if finally, the public must accept the fact that there are casualties, the security authorities have a robust argument base to be immediately conveyed to the public.

Such an effort needs to thoughtfully and thoroughly be considered so that any measures taken by the security forces do not cause uncertainty and insecurity, which in turn contradicts the objectives of the presence of the forces themselves. (*)

Enriching discourse and understanding. A protest to Indonesian govt that unsuccessfully serves the world fair info about West Papua.