Police officer opens fire from truck in Dogiyai Regency – One person dead, three injured

A police officer shot dead Mr Yulianus Tebai (28 years) near Tugomani, a village near the border between the regencies Nabire and Dogiyai, Papua Tengah Province, on 21 January 2023. Three other Papuan men, Mr Vinsen Dogomo (25 Jahre), Thomas Dogomo (22 years), and Amandus Dogomo (22 Years) were injured during the incident.  According to a witness, the shots came from a truck loading wood. The police member accompanied the truck driver. Previously, a group of people stopped the truck. The police officer reportedly released warning shots as they asked the truck driver for cigarettes. Being angry with the officer’s over-response, the angry mob chased after the truck.

According to witnesses, the group stopped the truck in Tugomani and attacked it with stones. The officer released shots. One projectile hit Mr Vinsen Dogomo on the thigh. He was admitted to the general hospital in Nabire Town. Mr Yulius Tebai and his wife were accidentally passing the location on a motorcycle. It is not clear whether the officer deliberately opened fire at Mr Tebai. A witness testified that the officer told his wife to get off the bike before shooting at Mr Tebai. He died shortly after due to a bullet injury on the right side of his upper back (see photos and video below, source: JPIC Kingmi Papua).

Tabout two hous laters, the incident triggered horizontal violence in the nearby town of Bobomani, Mapia District, which caused about 150 residents to flee to Nabire the following day. An angry mob burnt a truck and stores to the ground (photos below) and demanded justice for the death of Mr Yulius Tebai. Local government officials have confirmed that Mr Tebai was a member of the Civil Service Police Unit ‘Pamong Praja’ (Satpol PP). The relatives and human rights groups have called upon the police authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and hold the perpetrator responsible for the killing.

The police chief of the Dogiyai Regency, Commissioner Samuel Tatiratu, declared that three police officers are currently being investigated by the Profession and Security Division (Propam) of the Nabire District Police.

Photos of the victims

Video taken at the siote of crime shortly after the shooting

Civil unrest in Bobomani, 21 January 2021