Police arrest five convicts in prison riot

Police arrest five convicts in prison riot
, 5 December 2010


The Papua Police have arrested five prisoners for allegedly provoking a riot at the Abepura Correctional Facility that followed the news that an inmate who had recently escaped was found shot to death in a crossfire between the military and separatists from the Free Papua Movement.

“We have arrested five prisoners for allegedly provoking other prisoners which caused damage in the correctional facility,” Adj. Sr. Comr. Imam Setiawan, chief police at the Jayapura Police station, said on Saturday.

Hundreds of prisoners at the Abepura Correctional Facility rioted on Friday after hearing about the death of escaped convict Hiron Weitipo.

Hiron was shot dead during a joint operation conducted by Jayapura municipality police officers and local military in Tanah Hitam village, Abepura district, Jayapura municipality.

Law enforcers shot Hiron while searching for armed civilians who had allegedly fired shots at residents near Nafri village in Abepura on Sunday. One man, Riswandi Yusuf, died and four others, Zainal, 9, Vernan Nongka, 10, Alex Nongka, 11, and Baharudin, 45, sustained serious injuries.

During the search, law enforcers arrested Jack Mebel and seized two boxes of ammunition as well as documents mentioning attacks against the Free Papua Organization (OPM) and the National Liberation Army (TPN).

The Indonesian government considers the OPM a separatist movement. The OPM are often blamed for gun battles involving unknown assailants.

However, two days after the incident the OPM denied that they were responsible for the shootings.

Imam said two of the convicts arrested for allegedly provoking the prison riots were political prisoners Buchtar Tabuni and Filep Kimena, who were both charged with inciting a riot.

“Those two are currently being questioned for their role in yesterday’s riot. I have warned that I will not do any favors in [upholding] the law so both have been arrested and processed again,” he said, as reported by tempointeraktif.com.

The police were also focusing on capturing suspects who fired shots at unarmed civilians passing along the Arso road in Nafri village, Abepura district, Jayapura municipality, he added.

The Papua district police arrested eight suspects in the Nafri shootout. They have been detained at the Jayapura Municipality police resort headquarters since Friday.

“This is our target at the moment. We launched operations starting yesterday that will run for an indefinite period,” he said.

Papua has been plagued by tension and violence involving law enforcers and Papuans fighting for a referendum that would make Papuan a free state.

Previously, a video distributed widely on the Internet depicting the torture of Papuans by men dressed in military fatigues sparked outrage in Papua and on the international scene.