A series of alarming events, including a disturbing pattern of unlawful shootings and outbreaks of horizontal violence, unfolded in the Dogiyai Regency, Papua Tengah Province, on 13 July 2023. The events unfolded shortly after members of the Damai Cartenz Special Police Unit shot dead twenty-year-old Mr Yosua Keiya (see photos on top and below, source: Kingmi Papua) in the morning of 13 July while standing on the roadside in the Obayo Village, Kamu Utara District. The officers reportedly gave no warning and released shots from a white vehicle, which left the scene at high speed after the shooting.
The arbitrary execution triggered a chain of events that led to further violence and civil unrest in the towns of Moanemani and Ekemanida, Kamu District. Following the killing, indigenous Papuans burnt down 71 stores and houses owned by non-Papuans, as well as government buildings. Joint security forces started patrolling the towns of Moanemani and Ekemenida to disperse the crowd and regain control of the situation. Joint security forces reportedly shot dead two more indigenous Papuans. Mr Yakobus Pekei, 21, was shot with a sniper rifle (sniper positioned at the airport tower) in Moanemani towards Ekemenida, Kamu District. Mr Stepanus Pigome, 19, was shot in the right thigh and died of blood loss. Mr Pigome’s shooting took place in Moanemani, entering from Kimupigu Village.
As security forces dispersed the crowd in Moanemani, bullets injured six other Papuan civilians. Mr Daud Yobe, 23, and Mr Fredi Yobe, 17, were allegedly arrested and tortured during detention at the local police headquarters. Three police officers were reportedly injured by arrows. In Ekemanida, a group of Papuans reportedly stabbed a driver named Ibrahim with a knife. On 14 July 20221, joint security force members and non-Papuans reportedly burnt down 21 houses of indigenous Papuans in the village of Kimupugi, Kamu District (see video below, source: ELSHAM Papua).
Witnesses stated that the police officers shot dead Mr Keiya without reason. Prior to the arbitrary killing of Yosua Keiya, two young men were sitting by the roadside in Obayo. One of the men fled the scene as a brown Hilux vehicle approached. Yosua Keiya was standing nearby, observing the incident as the Brimob officers suddenly opened fire at him without warning or prior communication. The projectile hit Mr Keiya on the right side of the chest. He died at the site of the crime (see photo below, source: JPIC Kingmi Papua). The incident sparked widespread outrage among the local population, leading to spontaneous acts of retaliation, including attacks against police and military headquarters, as well as the burning of shops and stalls owned by non-Papuans.
On 17 July 2023, the victims’ relatives victims expressed multiple demands to the local authorities. They called upon the police to investigate the shootings and hold the perpetrators accountable. The case should be processed through national human rights mechanisms. The relatives also demanded the withdrawal of the military forces from Dogiyai.
The police claim that the shooting of Yosua Keiya occurred as a group of unknown perpetrators attacked Damai Cartenz police task force members in their car. According to the spokesperson of the Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua), Commissioner Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo, the perpetrators tried to rob a weapon during the attack. On 19 July 2020, Commissioner Prabowo denied in an interview with Papuan media outlet Jubi that the incident in Dogiyai resulted in civilian fatalities or persons being injured by bullets.
Human rights activists emphasized that the perpetrators of the police must be held accountable through legal processes. The incident shed light on the ongoing human rights violations in West Papua, underscoring the urgent need for justice, accountability, and the protection of basic human rights in the region.
The community’s response to the shooting reflected their deep-seated frustration with the unprofessional conduct of security forces in West Papua. Similar incidents have occurred in regencies Jayawijaya, Dogiyai, and Mappi within the past six months. A similar incident occurred in November 2022, again the Dogiyai Regency. In all of these cases, the use of excessive force by security force members triggered spontaneous outbreaks of ethnic horizontal violence in which indigenous Papuans attacked Indonesian migrants or burnt down businesses owned by non-Papuans. Statistics illustrate that the victims with bullet injuries during these incidents were almost entirely indigenous Papuans. At the same time, Indonesian migrants became victims of horizontal violence during subsequent attacks on migrant communities during the unrest.
The outbreaks of unrest and ethnic horizontal violence in response to such incidents must be understood in the context of the historically grown injustice and racial discrimination against indigenous Papuans in Indonesia. Unilateral amendments to the Papuan Special Autonomy Law without prior consultation with the Papuan people, economic development policies, and the growing restriction of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces are causing growing disagreement with the central government and the loss of trust in the Indonesian justice system.
Table of victims
|No||Name||Age||Location||Date, time||Additional information|
|1||Yosua Keiya||20 years||Obayo Village, Kamu Utara District||13 July 2023, 11:25 am||Shot dead, died at the site of the crime because of a bullet injury on the right side of the chest|
|2||Yakobus Pekei||20 years||Entrance road to Ekemanida Village, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 8:16 pm||Reportedly shot dead by a sniper who took a position at the airport tower, died at the site of the crime because of a bullet injury on the chest|
|3||Stepanus Pigome||19 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 8:16 pm||Shot dead, died of blood loss after sustaining a bullet wound on the thigh|
|4||Sisko Goo||21 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 8:50 pm||Bullet wound on the left leg|
|5||Elipin Tagi||20 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 8:16 pm||Bullet wound on the right knee|
|6||Yunus Pekei||20 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 09:30 pm||Bullet wound on the right knee|
|7||Amos Pigai||19 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 8:50 pm||Bullet wound on the left calf|
|8||Pini Tebai||19 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023, 11.30||Bullet wound on the right thigh|
|9||Ayub Goo||–||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023||Bullet wound and tortured at police station|
|10||Fredi Yobe||17 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023||Was arbitrarily arrested and tortured; police officers released him on the following day|
|11||Rev Daud Yobe||23 years||Ikebo aka Moanemani Town, Kamu District||13 July 2023||Was arbitrarily arrested and tortured; police officers released him on the following day|
Mr Yosua Keiya
Mr Yakobus Pekei
Mr Stepanus Pigome
Bullet injury on Mr Yunus Pekei’s right knee
Video recorded shortly after Mr Yosua Keiya was arbitrarily executed
Mr Yakobus Pekei
Video taken at night time during the unrest in Dogiyai
Videos of residential houses burnt to the ground by security force members in the Kimupugi Village, Dogiyai
Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Moanemani/ Ikea (-4.001513419087928, 136.03999954167531)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Tengah Province, Dogiyai Regency
total number of victims: 11
period of incident: 13.07.2023
perpetrator: other security forces
perpetrator details: Damai Cartenz Special Police Unit, joint security forces
Issues: torture, ill-treatment, extra-judicial killing, indigenous peoples, arbitrary detention
Further HRM News:
|Number||Name, Details||Gender||Age||Group Affiliation||Violations|
|1||Fredi Yobe||male||17||indigenous||arbitrary detention, torture|
|1||Rev Daud Yobe||male||23||indigenous||arbitrary detention, torture|