"Extrajudicial killings" reach "unacceptable proportions" in West Papua, MRG says

Papuan youth Kaleb Bogau shot dead by "trouble maker"-seeking policemen · Minority rights organization demands immediate investigation · Bogau's family claims death amounts to political assassination

The death of a Papuan youth at the hands of the Indonesian police has led the Minority Rights Group (MRG) to say that "extrajudicial killings in West Papua have reached unacceptable proportions."

According to MRG's and other Papuan organizations' account of the facts -which quote local witnesses as sources-, the police stormed on September 28th a students' residential building in Timika as the policemen seached "trouble makers" whose parents belonged to the Papuan independence movement. Two youths, aged 17, tried to flee. The police shot on them. One, Kaleb Bogau, died on the scene while the other one, Efrando Sobarek, is in hospital in critical condition.

MRG called for an "immediate investigation" on the facts, and said that if confirmed, the killing would be a violation of "all international human rights norms and standards."

Bogau's family, which is linked to the pro-independence civil society group National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), described the youth's death as a political assassination.

On the same day, at least tens took to the streets of Timika in protest against the police.

West Papua pro-independence organizations -whether peaceful or armed- have for decades suffered political, military, judicial and police persecution by the Indonesian state.

A former Dutch colony, West Papua was occupied by Indonesia in 1963, and formally annexed in 1969 after a referendum in which only one thousand people were allowed to vote. The pro-independence movement thus argues that West Papua was never formally decolonized and, therefore, a self-determination referendum should be held in the territory.

(Image: the Timika protest / KNPB video screenshot.)