Military members alleged of torturing four Papuan students after finding ammunition

On 1 February 2024, four students from Hitadipa were arrested in the Sugapa District on their way back home from Nabire to participate in the upcoming elections on 14 February 2024. The students, identified as Mr Elpinus Zanambani, Mr Tenius Wonda, Mr Selianus Sondegau, and Mr Denias Imanuel Agimba, were detained by members of the military near the Sugapa airport and reportedly tortured during interrogation. They were then taken to the Sugapa Police Station, where further violence ensued during the inspection of their belongings. One of the students was found to be carrying nine cartridges of ammunition and alcohol in their bag.

The military denied the allegations of torture. According to Lieutenant Colonel Inf Candra Kurniawan, Deputy Head of Information of Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih, the arrests were made after the suspects were found with ammunition, alcohol, a net bag with Morning Star motifs, and other items considered evidence. Candra clarified that the young men were apprehended by the Yonif 330/Tri Dharma Task Force personnel at Bilogai Post due to their suspicious behaviour while riding their motorcycles. The suspects were subsequently handed over to the Sugapa Sector Police for further investigation. Candra dismissed circulating allegations of arbitrary arrests, emphasizing that the suspects were being processed according to the law.

Four students arrested in Sugapa on 1 February 2024