Beoga tribal leader killed by mob

Markus Makur, The Jakarta Post - Joker Japugau, leader of the Beoga tribe was badly beaten by a violent mob late Friday in Mimika regency, Papua. The 58-year-old was taken to the Mitra Masyarakat hospital in Timika but died on the way.

His death prompted his family to run amok along Jl. Bougenvil, the town's trading center. The situation in Timika turned tensed when some 20 relatives of Japugau made a fire at the scene of the crime. Panic spread with rumors that the victim's relatives planned to set the town ablaze.

Police and the Indonesian military deployed personnel to safeguard the town. Heavily armed officers were seen guarding the hospital. Eyewitnesses said an angry mod formed on Jl. Bougenvil, near the Swadaya market, when the victim, who had been drunk, began to throw stones at a smalll garage nearby, damging equipment.

Fidelis Songgunao, a relative of Japugau, demanded the police to investigate the case thoroughly. He said the victim would be buried, pending the arrival of Beoga tribes from Tembagapura and other towns. He also said that the tribe demanded the victim's remains be laid at the family's residence, the Mimika Legislative Council building or at the crime scene. The last two alternatives are seen as a demand that police arrest the perpetrators.

"We can control the public today but I can't guarantee what will happen tomorrow," Songgunao said.

Mimika Baru Police Subprecinct Chief Adj. Comr. Jasim Hoda said the police have yet to name any suspects in the killing. Even Mimika Deputy Regent Abdul Muis was seen on the crime scene, attempting to calm down the victim's relatives.

The latest riot in Timika was 10 days ago when Simon Fader was hit by a bullet fired by riot police who were dispatched to disperse a pub brawl.