Jayapura, Jubi – The shooting between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and Indonesian Military (TNI) and police in Pamebut Village, Yugumoak District, Puncak Regency, Central Papua Province on March 3, 2023 killed a woman named Tarina Murib. A total of eight other residents were also injured by gunfire.
One of the shooting victims, a woman named Nerce Telenggen, told the chronology of the event. Telenggen said she and Tarina Murib woke up at around 5:00 a.m Papua time. “Upon waking up, I lit a fire in the stove while Tarina went out of the house,” said Telenggen.
A few moments after Tarina Murib left, Nerce Telenggen heard a gunshot. Tarina Murib entered the house already wounded by the gunshot and Nerce Telenggen immediately embraced her.
“She was hit first, then she went back into the honai [traditional Papuan house]. I immediately hugged her and then there was another shot landed into my right hand. When I was about to turn around, it turned out that the left back of my stomach was bleeding too,” said Nerce Telenggen.
Nerce Telenggen then grabbed her children. “I gathered them all, six of us were in the honai,” he said.
After telling the children to stay inside the house, Telenggen went out. “I called out ‘in the name of Jesus’ in a big voice. The security forces looked afraid, their weapons were pointing upwards,” said Telenggen.
At that time Telenggen did not see any members of the TPNPB. The security forces called Telenggen to come closer. “They called me and asked me to bring out all the children,” she said.
“They gave us water and wafers. I took the wafer, gave it to my children, and they ate,” she said.
Telenggen said she was questioned by the security forces. They asked if Telenggen knew where Kalenak Murib and the other TPNPB members lived. “I told them they lived far away from us. Even if they come, at most they would just pass quickly,” she said.
Telenggen told the security forces she wanted to go to Gigobak Village in Sinak District to be treated at the hospital. She took her children with her and walked towards Gigobak Village. “We walked slowly and I prayed all the way, hoping we could reach the hospital,” she said.
On March 6, spokesperson of the XVII/Cenderawasih Military Command Col. Kav Herman Taryaman said the resident who died in the event was shot by TPNPB members. He added that a soldier of the Raider 303/Setia Sampai Mati Infantry Battalion from West Java also died in the firefight in Pamebut Village.
Herman explained that the firefight began after TPNPB shot a civilian named Tarina Murib in Pamebut Village. He said TNI officers tried to evacuate the victim to the health center but were instead blocked and shot by the TPNPB.
“The incident resulted in Chief Pvt. JM being shot and eventually a firefight broke out. JM was successfully evacuated to the Sinak Health Center but was declared dead by the medical team,” Herman said.
On the other hand, leader of the TPNPB Sinak Area Command Brig. Gen. Kalenak Murib denied the TNI’s statement. He said the TNI was the one who shot civilians.
“We denied the statement saying TPNPB shot civilians. We have never shot civilians or burned people’s houses. The shooting of civilians was carried out by TNI soldiers when they tried to chase us,” he said.
Separately, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia Usman Hamid called on the security forces to thoroughly investigate the shooting that killed Tarina Murib and injured eight other civilians.
“Do not draw conclusions before there is a thorough investigation in accordance with applicable procedures,” Usman told Jubi via WhatsApp message service on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (*)