Security force members open fire at crowd in Mappi Regency – one dead, at least eight persons injured

A coalition of human rights NGOs in Papua documented another case of police violence in the town of Kepi, Mappi Regency, on 14 December 2022. According to information received, security forces opened fire at a crowd of indigenous Papuans as they were passing a Military Special Forces (Kopassus) Post. At least nine persons were injured during the incident, among them two minors. Six of the injured persons are pupils. Mr Moses Nakas Erro (32 years old) passed away two days later in the hospital, allegedly after being tortured by police officers.

Around 4.00 pm, a group of intoxicated persons attacked two Papuans at the Emete Cross Junction. The incident triggered tensions between two ethnic groups. An angry mob damaged a police car after police officers arrested one of the perpetrators. The perpetrator was detained at the Mappi District Police station. Around 5.30 pm, a crowd of people had gathered in front of the district police station, calling upon the police to release the perpetrator. Instead of de-escalating the situation, police officers released several warning shots to disperse the crowd. Following the incident, the protesters left the police station and walked home.

Around  6.00 pm, an unknown number of protesters began throwing stones at the fence of the Kopassus Post. Security force members reportedly opened fire at the crowd passing the Kopassus Post. Witnesses stated they had seen laser devices pointing at them. A police car reportedly parked in front of the entrance gate of the nearby Mappi Vocational High School I switched on its headlights shortly before the shooting took place. At least nine Papuans, among them two minors, sustained bullet injuries and had to receive medical treatment at the Mappi General Hospital at Kilo 6 (see table below, source. Papuan Human Rights & Law Enforcement Coalition). Five of them were able to leave shortly after the treatment, while four injured protesters had to undergo inpatient treatment.

Mr Moses Nakas Erro died inside the hospital on 17 December 2022, at 3.00 pm. The circumstances of his death are still unclear. While some human rights observers claim that Mr Erro died after police officers came to the hospital and allegedly tortured Mr Erro inside the hospital room, others stated that he fell while attempting to leave his bed. The torture reportedly occurred shortly after a human rights lawyer visited the four victims at the hospital on 17 December, around 12.30. After the lawyer’s visit, the police increased security precautions at the hospital and questioned the hospitalised victims. Three victims reportedly escaped from the hospital, whereas Mr Erro could not leave his bed because he sustained bullet wounds on the knee and the thigh. His body was brought to relatives’ house for burial without an autopsy. The eight injured victims are traumatized and refuse inpatient treatment because of the increased police presence at the hospital.

The Papuan human rights coalition called upon the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to conduct a timely and thorough investigation into the case. The Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua) declared that police officers opened fire at the crowd because the crowd attacked them during an attempt to prevent clashes between conflict parties. The claim contradicts the findings of the investigation by the Papuan human rights coalition.

Table of protesters injured during the shooting in Kepi town on 14 December 2022

NoNameAgeAdditional information
1Basilius Bape Yebo24 yearsSustained bullet wound on the right leg
2Fredirandus Boy16 yearsSustained bullet wound in the back, the projectile entered near the spine and exited the chest
3Kaspar Khani Yebo15 yearsSustained bullet wound on the right thigh
4Rexon Ya. A. Pasim18 yearsSustained bullet wound on the thigh; a police officer hit him four times with a rifle butt in the head; he was handcuffed to his hospital bed
5Sabinus Sokmi Sedap24 yearsSustained bullet wounds on the right hand and left thigh
6Moses Nakas Erro32 yearsVictim passed away, he sustained bullet wounds on the knee and the thigh, and the projectile damaged his thigh bone
7Wilhemus Jeji Samogi18 yearsSustained bullet wound on the left thigh
8Otniel Qah Samogoi25 yearsSustained bullet wound on the palm
9Yohanes T. Sedap24 yearsSustained bullet wounds in the thigh and right buttock; he was handcuffed to his hospital bed

Victims during medical treatment at the Mappi General Hospital

Compilation of video recordings taken during the shooting

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Pos Kopassus, Kepi (-6.537560161834226, 139.3097758280451)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Mappi Regency, Obaa District, Kepi Village
total number of victims: 9
period of incident: 14.12.2022
perpetrator: police, other security forces
perpetrator details: unknown Issues: torture, ill-treatment, extra-judicial killings, indigenous peoples
Sources:
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Basilius Bape Yebomale24indigenousill-treatment
1Fredirandus Boymale16indigenousill-treatment
1Kaspar Khani Yebomale15indigenousill-treatment
1Rexon Ya. A. Pasimmale18indigenousill-treatment
1Sabinus Sokmi Sedapmale24indigenousill-treatment
1Moses Nakas Erromale32indigenousexecution, ill-treatment
1Wilhemus Jeji Samogimale18indigenousill-treatment
1Otniel Qah Samogoimale25indigenousill-treatment
1Yohanes T. Sedapmale24indigenousill-treatment