Victor Yeimo and others arrested as police crackdown on December 1 protests in Jayapura

By West Papua Media, with Victor Mambor at TabloidJubi.com, and Julian Howay at SuaraPapua.com

December 2, 2012

Three leaders of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) who were detained at a West Papuan independence rally on December 1 have been allegedly disappeared by Indonesian security forces, prompting fears of ill treatment at the hands of police.

As reported earlier by Tabloid Jubi and West Papua Media, Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi were arrested by Police while leading a long march enroute to a planned mass rally commemorating the West Papuan “Day of Independence” of December 1st  at the tomb of Theys Eluay. All three were arrested for allegedly being responsible for these demonstrations, according to Police who spoke with Jubi.

Indonesian police prevent KNPB demo; arrests of Victor Yeimo (Photos: West Papua Media stringers)

Indonesian police prevent KNPB demo; arrests of Victor Yeimo (Photos: West Papua Media stringers)

KNPB members and human rights lawyers are currently trying to confirm his whereabouts and legal status, however Indonesian police have claimed to West Papua Media that all detainees being held at the Police headquarters.  Legal access has not been allowed at time of writing and human rights observers hold grave fears for the safety of the detainees.

Yeimo-ditangkapVictor Yeimo, KNPB Chairman, has been on a wanted list (Daftar Pencarian Orang or DPO) and has up to now evaded a massive Papua-wide manhunt by the Australian trained Detachment 88 counter-terror unit, allegedly on treason charges imposed after his appearance on the Australian ABC 7.30 Report where he presented evidence of the Densus 88 assassination of his predecessor Mako Tabuni.

However, after the arrests, the whereabouts of Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi remain unknown until time of writing, with no indications if they still being detained or have been released by police.

“Yes. There are journalists who say that Victor (Yeimo) was released earlier. But we do not know where he is. KNPB members are still trying to find him. Their mobile phone (three KNPB’s members were arrested) was (switched) off.” Sebby Sambom, a Human Rights Activist, told tabloidjubi.com on Saturday afternoon (1/12).

Some human rights lawyers who commonly accompany Papuan activists also still looking for them (Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi). Because when they checked into the both of Police Office (Polda and Polresta), human rights lawyers was told by police that no one was arrested after rally this morning.

“We had been to the police office, Polda and Polresta, but they (Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi) were not there. Police said no one was arrested there (Police and Police),” said Olga Hamadi, a Papuan human rights lawyer.

Papua Police Head of Public Relations, Chief I Gede Sumerta Jaya confirmed to tabloidjubi.com, mention that the three activists will be released after the investigation at the Police Sector office of Abepura.

“After being interrogated in Abepura police station, according to the police chief, three of them will be released as they could not to do any further investigation.” said I Gede Jaya Sumerta.
However, West Papua Media twice contacted the Police Sector (Polsek) headquarters in Abepura this (Sunday) morning, where an officer named Mas Arbi claimed that Yeimo and the other prisoners were still in custody.   Officers immediately volunteered further information on the second phone call that “none of the prisoners have been tortured,” despiteWest Papua Media having not yet asked that question.  WPM has not been able to independently verify the claims of police, as legal representation is still barred from seeing Yeimo.

Massive security presence

The December 1 commemorations in Jayapura were amongst national mobilisations in most centres across Papua, and solidarity gatherings internationally.

Reports from Abepura early in the morning described a massive security presence to prevent West Papua people from engaging in peaceful acts of free expression, and from engaging in flagraisings of the Morning Star flag, the Indonesia-banned West Papuan independence flag.

Unknown persons had blockaded the entrance to the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN)  by welding iron crossbars and erecting a 2 metre high steel fence around the university in anticipation of events.

From 7.30 on Saturday morning, students and activists with KNPB leaders (including Yeimo) gathered in small numbers by the site of former KNPB head Mako Tabuni’s murder, in front of the Perunmans 3 Housing Complex in Waena, where many highland students are domiciled.

Intelligence officers and plain-clothed Densus 88 personnel posing as ojek (motorcycle taxi drivers) become more aggressive towards participants converging prior to the long march, according to West Papua Media stringers and SuaraPapua.com.

At 0845 three platoons of heavily armed Dalmas riot police arrived on site, followed by Jayapura police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Alfred Papare and his men.   Papare began negotiations with Yeimo on the route and plan of action for the day, which was to make speeches and a prayer service at the tomb of slain Papuan leader Chief Theys Eluay, to commemorate December 1 and also World AIDS Day.

Participants carried many banners also demanding that the Indonesian government do more to combat HIV/AIDS, which is taking a heavy toll on Papuan society, in a situation that many Papuans believe is a deliberate policy by Jakarta of neglect and genocide.

Kapolres Papare asked the students to not go to Eluay’s tomb as he “could not be held responsible for anything that happened outside his Jayapura jurisdiction”, according to our stringers.  Having heard the explanations and assurances from the students who accompanied Victor Yeimo (KNPB Chairman), police chief Papare then left the scene and ordered the Jayapura Police Dalmas riot police officers to leave the Perumnas 3. After negotiation, the students resumed speeches for the next 1 hour.

The march began slowly from Waena, passing an Indonesian army (TNI) post about 50 meters from the housing complex, which was packed with military personnel moonlighting as taxi drivers, and several platoons of heavily armed TNI on guard, who rang a warning bell as students ran past.

According to reports from Suara Papua, the march was blocked by dozens of police officers from Jayapura Police at the corner near Dian Harapan Hospital (RSDH) in Waena. forming a three layer formation blockade. The first layer is riot police, while the second and third layers are heavily armed police, who were supported by large numbers of plainclothes police who parked their motorcycles and cars nearby.

Yeimo’s Arrest

Yeimo told police through a megaphone that more students were joining them to continue the journey to Sentani.  The Police Head of Operations AKP Kiki Kurnia ordered participants to  disperse, but students refused the order to move on.  Kiki Kurnia then advanced toward Victor Yeimo and seized him violently.  Yeimo did not resist as Kurnia gave the command to capture him and a large number police descended on Yeimo, violently immobilising him as Yeimo, Julian Douw and Usman Pahabol were thrown into the Dalmas truck and taken away, according to witnesses.

Just as the three were taken away, at about 11 am outside Dian Harapan Hospital (RSDH). police violently dispersed the remaining group of students to disperse them, firing tear gas and six live warning shots into the air. A number of students were also beaten by police, according to witnesses.

Soldiers from the TNI post also joined in the pursuit of students who were forced to flee via alleyways between homes, most running back in the direction of the Perumnas 3 dormitories, and all the armed police began raids again.

According to reports from Suara Papua, dozens of students desperately sought shelter inside the UNCEN Campus, where they were funneled into a dead end by police, back at the locked front gate, though they managed to escape for the time being.  KNPB sources have reported that several students sustained injuries from beating, but this has yet to be independently verified.

However, unconfirmed reports to West Papua Media overnight have said that the police, allegedly backed by Densus 88 personnel, have been conducting brutal raids on student dormitories and highlander’s residences across Jayapura.

It is confirmed that at 1235 local time Densus 88 raid occurred on the KNPB office in Sentani an hour later, seizing laptops, Morning Star flags and the United Nations flag.  No reports of injuries or arrests were received during that raid.

More to come.

West Papua Media

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2012. It was filed under CoProductionNews alertsyndicationUrgent ActionWritten by West Papua Media and was tagged with .

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