Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Office of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM Papua) has conducted an investigation into the attack on 14 construction workers of the Trans Bintuni – Maybrat road allegedly carried out by the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Bintuni Bay Regency, West Papua Province. The investigation on October 4-7 concluded that the workers did not have firearms. There was one person who carried an air rifle to shoot birds.
When contacted by Jubi on Saturday, October 8, 2022, Head of the Komnas HAM Papua Frits Ramandey explained that the commission’s investigation focused on accusations from the TPNPB that these road workers were spies and carried firearms.
Ramandey said Komnas HAM Papua had sought testimony from a number of witnesses who survived the incident, namely Reva and Ruslang. Both of them are undergoing treatment at Bhayangkara Lodewijk Mandacan Hospital and West Papua Regional Hospital respectively. The survivors denied they had firearms and were part of the intelligence.
“We have questioned two witnesses who are being treated at Bhayangkara Hospital and West Papua Regional Hospital, Reva and Ruslang, as well as other witnesses elsewhere. These workers have been working since last year. There was indeed one worker carrying an air rifle but it was used to shoot birds,” Ramandey said.
According to Ramandey, the workers also denied that the firearm bullets presented were theirs.
The attack on 14 civilians took place in Bintuni Bay’s Moskona on September 29, 2022, and killed four workers, namely Darmin, Abbas, Armin, and Yavet. The perpetrators also burned two heavy equipment and three trucks. “It is true that three trucks and two excavators were burned,” Ramandey said.
Ramandey also stated that the TPNPB group that attacked the workers was the same group that had massacred Indonesian Military (TNI) members in the Kisor and Kumurkek areas. “It is strongly suspected that the same group attacked and killed five TNI members in Kisor and Kumurkek. There was also an allegation of seizure of the TNI weapons,” he said.
From the recent investigation, Komnas HAM Papua also received reports of displaced people following the attack on road workers. However, his party has not been able to confirm or verify the report.
“We are still deepening the information that a number of residents fled after the incident. We have not mapped which village and how many displaced people, the local government has yet to respond to this report,” said Ramandey.
He said Komnas HAM Papua had met with the Regent of Bintuni Bay, the Commander of the XVIII/Kasuari Military Regional Command, the West Papua Police and the Bintuni Police to encourage law enforcement. He emphasized that the regent must be more proactive in handling this case.
“We encourage the Regent of Bintuni Bay to be more proactive in handling the case and supporting trauma recovery after the incident,” he said. (*)