Jayapura, Jubi – The Papuan office of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM Papua) has urged the Indonesian Military (TNI) to conduct an investigation into the allegation of torture against seven children by its soldiers in Sinak District, Puncak Regency.
Earlier on February 22, 2022, 521 Infantry Battalion soldier Second Pvt. Kristian Sandi Alviando had his SS2 type weapon stolen while he was securing the warehouse of PT Modern around Tapulunik Airport in Gigobak 1 Village, Sinak. Following the theft, the soldiers allegedly arrested seven children at the location and tortured them until one of the children, 6th grader Makilon Tabuni, died.
A family member of Makilon Tabuni, LT, said these children often visit PT Modern’s warehouse to watch television or people gamble. LT said that according to survivors, even though the children were there at the time the weapon was stolen, they knew nothing about the theft.
LT said that the security forces often interacted with or at least knew the children who lived around Tapulinik Airport, including the seven children who were tortured. Therefore, the news about the torture came as shocking to them. “The army knows the children. The little ones usually play together and then go watch the dice game at PT Modern’s [warehouse],” said LT.
LT regretted that the soldiers took the law into their own hands and hit the children. “Without even asking, they beat the kids to a pulp. Our children know nothing about gun theft. Our son died,” he said.
Head of Komnas HAM Papua Frits Ramandey said his party issued four recommendations regarding the alleged child abuse after Komnas HAM Papua gathered information from various parties in Puncak, including the families of the victims and survivors, who were now being treated in Timika, Mimika Regency.
One of the facts found by Komnas HAM Papua is that there is a 14-year-old child victim named DM, who suffers a black blister or open wound on the back of his shoulder. There are also blow marks using a blunt object on the chest, face, and inside of the mouth. DM is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mimika.
“Therefore, firstly, we urge the TNI commander, Gen. Andika Perkasa, to immediately summon and examine the commanders and members of 521 Infantry Battalion for allegations of torturing children, which is clearly a violation of law and abuse of power,” said Ramandey in his written statement to Jubi on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
The second recommendation, Ramandey said, Komnas HAM Papua urged the commanders and members of the 521 Infantry Battalion to be investigated at the XVII Cenderawasih Military Command. Thirdly, Komnas HAM Papua asked the Papua Police to probe and detain the weapon thief.
“And our fourth recommendation, we asked PT Modern to explain the presence of members of the TNI at the company’s warehouse. Why would soldiers guard the company?” he said.
Previously, on March 16, the Puncak Student Community in Jayapura (KMPP Jayapura) asked the Komnas HAM to investigate the alleged torture that killed Makilon Tabuni and injured the other six children.
KMPP Jayapura coordinator Manu Tinal said his party urged President Joko Widodo to form an independent team to investigate the case. Because, Tinal said, if this case was left unsolved and the perpetrators not prosecuted, similar incidents will recur in other conflict areas in Papua.
The KMPP Jayapura also urged the Puncak Administration to assist in the recovery of the six child victims and asked the Papua Police chief to carry out legal proceedings against the perpetrators. “The perpetrators must be brought to justice. But no less important, the Puncak Administration must facilitate the recovery of six children who were tortured by the security forces,” said Tinal. (*)