Truth eagerly awaited behind Intan Jaya's recent deadly shootings

Truth eagerly awaited behind Intan Jaya's recent deadly shootings

Head of the fact-finding team for probe into the recent shootings in Intan Jaya District, Papua Province, Benny Mamoto (HO-Dok Humas Kemenko Polhukam)

Indonesians and members of the international community await with bated breath for the Indonesian government's announcement on the truth behind several deadly shootings in Intan Jaya District, Papua Province, in September.

The Indonesian government-initiated joint fact-finding team's (TGPF's) probe into recent shootings in the district has accomplished its mission and completed its report since Oct 17.

However, the team's members intend to report to Indonesia's top security minister, Mahfud MD, on Oct 21.

"The secretary of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs has confirmed with us about our scheduled meeting with Mr. Minister on Wednesday during which we are handing over the report," TGPF Head Benny Mamoto stated.

The TGPF members were, in fact, scheduled to meet Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD on Oct 19, but owing to the minister's tight schedule, it was then rescheduled on Oct 21, Mamoto remarked in Jakarta early this week.

"Today, Mr. Minister partook in two meetings with President Joko Widodo and chaired several meetings, including the one for talks on the recently enacted omnibus law (job creating law). Hence, we do understand if we are received on Wednesday," Mamoto stated.

The report on the result of the TGPF members' recent probe into the deadly shooting incidents in Intan Jaya District contains information and facts gathered from 42 witnesses and sources.

In his earlier press briefing on Oct 17, Mamoto revealed that Minister Mahfud MD would announce the result of the team's probe into recent shootings in Intan Jaya District that claimed the lives of soldiers and civilians, including a priest.

Mamoto did not elaborate on the reasons behind Mahfud MD announcing the results of their probe.

He said his team primarily applied a culturally-sensitive approach for probing the deadly shootings. Hence, its members relied on voluntary accounts from invited witnesses.

"We prioritized a cultural approach while gathering facts on the ground. We are not investigators. We just gather facts, so that we ourselves must come or the figures that we have invited to come voluntarily show up (to recount what they witnessed)," he stated.

Mamoto also underscored the strong commitment on part of all members of the fact-finding team on uncovering the cases.

ANTARA reported that members of the Benny Mamoto-led fact-finding team had faced a challenging task in Papua.

On October 9, 2020, a group of armed separatists ambushed them in Mamba Village, Sugapa Sub-district, Intan Jaya District.

The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) confirmed it was behind the attack on members of the TGPF. One of the fact-finding team's members and a soldier suffered injuries in the attack.

The TGPF member — Gadjah Mada University (UGM) lecturer Bambang Purwoko — was shot in the leg, while TNI soldier First Sgt Faisal Akbar of the Hitadipa Task Force sustained injuries on his waist.

The Indonesian government set up the TGPF to probe a series of deadly shootings in Intan Jaya in September 2020, the bloodiest month in the district this year, with armed separatists mounting a spate of attacks, which left two soldiers and two civilians dead, and led to injuries to two others.

On September 19, 2020, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight with several armed Papuan rebels near the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command's compound in the district.

The fallen hero was identified as First Private Dwi Akbar Utomo, according to XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command spokesperson, Lt. Col. Reza Nur Patria.

The same day, armed separatists reportedly gunned down Priest Yeremia Zanambani in Hitadipa Village, Hitadipa Sub-district.

The priest died of gunshot wounds after being shot at by armed criminals on September 19, 2020, Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesperson, Col. IGN Suriastawa, noted in a statement.

On September 17, 2020, another soldier, Chief Sergeant Sahlan, was reportedly killed in an ambush laid by a group of armed separatists. He was attacked while returning to the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command in Intan Jaya District with food supplies from the Sugapa area.

The attackers seized his gun and magazine, according to Commander of the Biak-based 173/Praja Vira Braja Military Resort Command, Brig. Gen. Iwan Setiawan.

Sahlan, a member of the 1404 Pindrang Military District Command in South Sulawesi Province, was tasked with backing up the Village Supervisory Non-Commissioned Officers (Babinsa) of the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command, he remarked.

In a separate incident on September 17, 2020, armed Papuan rebels had reportedly tortured and killed a 49-year-old motorcycle taxi Ojek driver identified as Badawi.

On September 13, 2020, armed separatists opened fire at two other Ojek drivers in Sugapa area, but they managed to survive the attack. The two drivers were treated at a hospital in Timika, the capital of Mimika District, Setiawan remarked.

Hopes ride high that the truth of the real culprits behind the deadly killings be unveiled on Wednesday, so they can be brought to justice sooner or later.