A Mysterious Shooting – & A
Dr. Dietmar Pieper, a German biologist was vacationing with his wife, Eva Medina, in Jayapura, West Papua.
The region has some of the most beautiful beaches in all the world. The couple decided to go for a swim and spend some time sunbathing at Base G Beach, about 10 kilometers from Jayapura’s downtown district. They arrived at around 8 am. At around 11:30 am Dr. Pieper had just finished swimming when something unthinkable happened.
“[A] man, who had curly hair and was unshaven abruptly stopped his vehicle near us. He got off the car and shot my husband three times… on his leg and chest… The man came near to us, about ten metres away… I was shocked when I saw [my husband] fall and moan, saying ‘I am going to die. I am going to die.’ and I saw blood flowing.”
Another eyewitness told police:
“The perpetrators arrived in three cars. The gunman abruptly stopped his car near the victim. He got out of the car and shot him in the chest and thigh.”
What could have provoked such a brutal and seemingly senseless attack?
National Police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution stated:
“We don’t know what the motive of the shooting was because we have not arrested the perpetrator.”
Dietmar Pieper is still undergoing intensive treatment, but, luckily, he is still alive. Plans are being made to move him to Singapore for further care.
The Armed Forces (TNI) were quick to throw the blame on the Papuan separatist movement. The Jakarta Globe reported: “Adm. Agus Suhartono, the Armed Forces (TNI) chief, said on Thursday that the military was stretched thin trying to cover the whole country and was working with the police to maintain a strong security presence in Papua, where a low-level insurgency has gone on for decades.” Suhartono, said:
“We’re trying our best to secure every part of the country, but when incidents like these happen we’re reminded that there are still armed groups out there that we need to watch out for.”
These types of shootings are nothing new
32 shooting incidents on, or around, Freeport’s Grasberg mining complex since July 2009 have killed 15 people and injured 56.
Freeport said in a February statement about the shootings:
“The identity of the perpetrators is unknown as is the motivation for the shootings… The Indonesian government has responded with additional security forces.”
I point to these Grasberg shootings to establish a pattern of behavior for the Indonesian government. Mysterious, seemingly motiveless shootings occur which target foreign mine workers, their families, civilians, students, or as in the case of Dietmar Pieper, just tourists. The cases remain unsolved, but are quickly used as pretexts to increase Indonesia’s military presence in West Papua as a precautionary measure. The unprovoked, and surgically executed shootings do not fit with the Free Papua Movement’s tactical capabilities or political agenda. The Indonesian government has banned foreign media and NGOs from visiting West Papua. The Free Papua Movement has been trying desperately for decades to publicize the conditions that exist under Indonesian rule in West Papua. What would they gain by the murdering random foreigners, the same people they are trying to alert? It simply does not make sense. The only ones who benefit from these types of shootings are the Indonesian military and government.
Indonesia has a very bad habit of collecting Papuan political prisoners.
There are many examples of Papuan leaders being handed outrageously long prison terms just for demonstrating peacefully, but I’ll only give two, the first one because it is the most recent, and the second because it may be pertinent to the near fatal shooting of Dr. Pieper.
On 16 March 2012 five men were sentenced for their participation in the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress, which took place in October 2011. During the event a West Papuan declaration of independence was read aloud by Forkorus Yaboisembut. Hundred of Papuans who attended the demonstration were arrested. All but five were eventually released. The five men, known as the Jayapura Five, are Selfius Bobii, Agus Kraar, Dominikus Sorabut, Edison Waromi, and Forkorus Yoboisembut. They were each sentenced to three years, though it might have been longer had the case not attracted significant media attention.
The second example is Filep Karma who is serving a 15-year jail sentence for raising the outlawed Morning Star flag, the symbol of West Papuan independence, at a peaceful demonstration. He was charged with treason and has been in jail since 2004.
It’s interesting that you never hear of Papuan separatists attacking Indonesian government forces during these demonstrations. When Papuan leaders are arrested it’s always for raising a flag or making a speech, never for a violent act. On the other hand you can find many examples of Indonesia security violence, truly unspeakable acts.
In fact, Indonesia’s human rights record was recently scrutinized by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on May 23rd as part of a periodic review. International concerns about human rights violations, especially in the West Papua province, increased dramatically since its previous review in 2008. A significant number of member states, including Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and others, raised concerns about issues ranging from political prisoners and freedom of expression to state violence and human rights abuses in the region.
Haris Azhar, an expert on Indonesian Law and Human Rights, suggested the shooting of Dr. Dietmar Peiper could be related to Germany’s criticism of Indonesia’s human rights record during the periodic review:
“Criticism came from various countries about Indonesia, including one from the German delegation… They asked about the unstable and unsafe conditions in Papua. Germany even recommended that political detainees, such as Filep Karma, be released.”
“Germany, Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and France questioned the Indonesian government on its handling of human rights violations, such as torture of civilians, shootings and killings in Papua.”
“It’s a big question why such a large police and military presence there has failed to result in anyone being arrested for the attacks. Furthermore, their presence in the area has also failed to deter more attacks.”
The National comitee for West Papua (KNPB) also issued a statement. Here it is in full.
KNPB’S STATEMENT ON THE SHOOTING OF DIETMAR PIEPER
The shooting of Dietmar Pieper (55 years), Tuesday (29/5) at around 11:30 at the Base-G, Jayapura, West Papua is a conspiracy to eliminate Indonesia government from international pressure on its involvement in human rights abuses in West Papua
The shooting is closely associated with harsh rebuke to Indonesia by the UN Human Rights Council within the UN human rights session recently where Indonesian military and police carried out violence and human rights abuses in West Papua.
WE CAREFULLY ASSESS THAT THE SHOOTING WAS PURELY STATE CONSPIRACY TO SCAPEGOAT PEOPLE OF PAPUA FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME AS THE MASTERMIND BEHIND THE VIOLENT CONFLICT IN WEST PAPUA.
We stated that since the Germans stepped onto this land the Papuans have never rejected or [been] hostile to them. West Papua people have no problem with Germany and other countries. However, the State of Indonesia has a problem with foreigners in West Papua. Indonesia is the country that has banned, arrested and deported foreigners from West Papua. Indonesia hates foreigners to conduct activities in West Papua. Indonesia was devastated that it was reprimanded by the Germans on UN human rights session recently.
So, we firmly say that the shooting was purely derived from the state and for the sake of its image in the eyes of international security.
Due to Indonesia, “using” people of West Papua as an actor of violence is a way to fix and avoid violence in West Papua.
–To Stop the charade at the expense of the country’s image and dignity of Papuans.
–The German government immediately sent Independent Team to West Papua, to get the reason why and who is behind the shooting
–Urged the German government to sever diplomatic relations with Indonesia, and the German Embassy in Jakarta to leave immediately prior to the shooter revealed by the team of the International Independent.
–Government of Indonesia and its cronies in Papua to immediately stop all intents are used to manage the issues of conflict as interest for imaging the state of Indonesia which was beginning to crumble in the international eye.