Indonesian army on brutal rampage across Wamena

West Papua Media Alerts - At time of writing, up to 500 houses have allegedly been set alight by soldiers from Battalion 756 Mim Anesili Wamena, and kiosks and shops have been hit with flamethrowers in the suburbs of Honailama and Sinakma. Live ammunition is being fired indiscriminately according to local human rights sources, who claim that “scores” of people have been brutally beaten and shot by rampaging soldiers. Exact casualty figures have not been able to be confirmed, however unconfirmed claims are circulating that 13 people have been shot dead so far.

 

The situation unfolded on Wednesday afternoon in the outlying village of Honailama when two members of Kostrad (Strategic Reserve) battalion 756, identified as Pratu Ahmad Saifudin and Pratu Ahmad Saelan, were driving a car at speed through Honailama, and hit a young boy (as yet unidentified) who was playing at the roadside. The soldiers were alleged to have been careless, and enraged villagers – including clan members of the boy – dragged the soldiers from the car and beat them to death.

Upon hearing of the beatings, the entire army battalion (1500 combat troops) was mobilised onto the streets of Wamena, and according to witnesses, have opened fire indiscriminately at any Papuan person. The battalion is also being supported in a search and cordon operation by the entire Wamena Brimob police commando battalion, and also officers from the Australian-trained and funded Detachment 88 counter-terrorist group. All elements of the Indonesian security forces present in Wamena are participating in the rampage operation, amid unconfirmed reports of hundreds of arrests.
Local sources are reporting that the carnage is so intense that smoke is filling the entire Baliem Valley and covering the town.

A witness has spoken to the West Papua Media team and confirmed the situation in Wamena. “It happened in front of my house in the compound I live. Soldiers have shot and hit people. The army beat innocent people who know nothing and did not understand why. This is really a violation of human rights. My house was stoned and the glass window was shattered into pieces,” the witness, who asked not to be named, told West Papua Media via SMS.

Human Rights sources in Wamena are saying that local people are terrified that the Indonesian army actions look like they will eclipse the “Bloody Wamena” incident of 6 October 2000. That incident saw hundreds of people wounded and at least 38 people shot dead or dying from injuries inflicted by Indonesian torture in the aftermath of a flag-raising incident.
According to Sebby Sambon, a Wamena-native human rights worker said, “Some friends called me a few hours ago top say that the TNI and POLRI are shooting local peoples in every place in the town of Wamena. Some Papuans civilians (have been) killed by TNI and POLRI two hours ago (about 7pm Wamena time – WPM). We hope UN and all UN member states keep their attention on the situation. “
Sambon also said that TNI and POLRI forces are also burning local houses both in and outside the town of Wamena.
This is a developing situation – please stay tuned to West Papua Media newswire.

Media note: Photos and video of this ongoing situation are currently being sourced, and West Papua Media will upload links for general distribution, on condition of credit to West Papua Media, when it becomes available. Donations to cover costs would be appreciated if broadcast.

 

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