Indonesian Densus88 police shoot dead student, reports West Papua Media

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Police in Nabire in the Indonesian-ruled province of West Papua carry the body of teenager Oen (Owen) Pekei, to a pickup truck after he was shot dead. Image: West Papua Media/UmagiNews

Australian-supported Indonesian police special forces have shot dead a teenage Papuan high school student in central Nabire city, West Papua, reports West Papua Media.

The shooting took place on Monday in an “apparently premeditated ambush without provocation, according to credible reports and witnesses from the scene”.

The student was unarmed , reports West Papua Media.

Oen (Owen) Pekei ... the 18-year-old student who was allegedly shot by Indonesian special forces police on Monday. Image: West Papua Media/
Oen (Owen) Pekei … the 18-year-old student who was allegedly shot by Indonesian special forces police on Monday. Image: West Papua Media/UmagiNews

Local independent media in Nabire, UmagiNews, are reporting that the extrajudicial killing occurred as the high school students were passing by the heavily armed police patrol near a roundabout in central Nabire.  

West Papua Media stringers have confirmed these reports.

Oen (Owen) Pekei, 18, a student from class 2, YPPGI (Senior High School) Karang Mulia Nabire West Papua, was shot dead at 5pm local time, Monday, after being chased by at least three vehicles full of heavily armed, militarised police, according to witnesses.

One witness, whose name has been withheld for protection, told UmagiNews that Pekei was seen riding on a motorbike carrying a noken bag bearing the outlawed Morning Star pro-independence symbol.

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Police gave chase
Police gave chase with three motorbikes, three unmarked police vehicles, and a truck full of fully armed and armoured Densus88 anti-terror police in balaclavas joined the chase.

Pekei was herded into an ambush area, where more Densus88 armed members of the police were awaiting him at three points, according to the witness.

Pekei was then shot in front of the new city complex at the Nabire regent’s office, allegedly from several directions simultaneously.

UmagiNews has published a series of diagrams given by witnesses showing from where different armed units shot Pekei.

One shot from Telkom head office, the second from within the memorial monuments, and the third from the D88 cars of Dalmas Porles Nabire.

Unconfirmed reports seen by West Papua Media stringers allege that among the shooters, both waiting and chasing Pekei, were a heavily armed patrol of black clad special forces police belonging to the Australian-trained and funded counter-terror unit Special Detachment (Densus) 88.

Densus88 has been used extensively for several years to conduct extremely violent repression against Papuan civilians engaged in peaceful acts of free expression, and is currently deployed heavily across Papua, whilst still receiving funding and training from the Australian Federal Police.

Motive unclear
The motive for shooting is not clear, however police have denied – in the military run colonial media outlet Nabire_Net  – that they shot Pekei, claiming instead that he died in hospital after hitting his head during the crash.

West Papua Media has published photos of Pekei – provided for publication by his family with permission – showing the entry wound caused by a bullet, which is inconsistent with road impact at low-speed. Warning: Images on this weblink may be distressing for some.

However, human rights observers told UmagiNews that questions arose that if Pekei was considered a road accident victim who was unconscious, why he was dumped in the mortuary instead of receiving an attempt to revive him in the emergency room of the hospital.

Other circumstances surrounding the shooting have not been confirmed at time of writing, and Indonesian police in Nabire have refused to answer phone and SMS messages from West Papua Media and local stringers.

A human rights monitor in Nabire who exposed the news observed that the “Motive appears unknown (as) conducted by the police, but people of Papua demand the Indonesian state carries out a just ‘crack down’ on any human rights violations that occurred”.

This shooting is not the first time an event like this has occurred. On 5 December 2014, the Bloody Paniai incident occurred that left four unarmed Papuan teenagers dead and 17 more Papuans injured when the Indonesian army and police opened fire on peaceful protesters in Paniai.

Some Papuans who gathered outside the Regent’s office after the killing told UmagiNews that they “questioned the Indonesian government’s seriousness in resolving human rights violations by the Indonesian military”.

“Bloody Nabire has returned, the security apparatus of the Republic of Indonesia is shooting the indigenous people of West Papua, using the tools of State (guns)”.

Images of the scene at West Papua Media

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