Security forces raid villages in Omukia and Gome – three Papuans arrested and tortured, one died

Reports indicate that security force members carried out a raid in the Eromaga Village, Omukia District, on 3 February 2024, around 10.00 am. Mr Andinus Murib, 21, and Mr Werinus Murib, 19, were covering the roof of a house with straw as the security forces arrived in the village. Residents fled to the forest frightened while Mr Werinus Murib and Mr Andinus Murib were caught on top of the roof construction, unable to flee. They were arrested and taken to a military post in Gome district on 3 February.

The third victim Mr Devius Kogoya, 20, was met by security forces on 3 February around 11.00 am as he was walking with a friend to the Wako Village, Gome District, where they wanted to buy betel nuts. His friend flew the scene, but Mr Kogoya was arrested because he was carrying a machete, a tool used by all Papuans in the highlands for gardening. According to Mr Kogoya the military members collectively punched him during the arrest while tying a plastic rope around his neck and both hands behind his back. He was then brought to a military post in the Gome district.

All three victims were detained separately from each other and tortured by military members at the Gome military post. The military members reportedly applied the same methods of torture to the three arrestees. They were forced to enter a barrel filled with water. Their hands were tied to the back while security force members would take turns to beat, punch, and kick their heads and bodies using bare hands and blunt objects. Military members also used their knives to stab and slash the victims. Witnesses reportedly saw joint security forces tying Mr Werinus Murib’s feet to a car and dragging him for about one kilometre.

According to one of the victims, the military commander arrived at the site and put three weapons on the ground. He reportedly asked Mr Kogoya to admit that the weapons belonged to the arrestees. Mr Kogoya twice replied that he did not know these weapons and that the weapons did not belong to him. Thereupon, military members brought him to another post near the Ilaga School of Excellence, where he was tortured again. Military members kicked him four times to the head until Mr Kogoya fainted. He gained consciousness again at the Ilaga hospital.

The military members conceded that the three men were taken to the general hospital in Ilaga (RSUD Puncak) for medical treatment on 3 February. Mr Werinus Murib died on the way to the hospital due to the injuries he sustained as a result of the torture. His body was cremated in the late afternoon of 3 February 2024.

Police interrogations of Mr Devius Kogoya and Mr Andinus Murib, which took place at some point between 3 and 5 February, did not reveal incriminating evidence for their involvement in a criminal act. Accordingly, the police did not press criminal charges against Mr Kogoya and Mr Murib.

On 5 February 2024, military members suggested transferring both patients from the hospital in Ilaga to the town of Timika, Mimika Regency, where the hospital is better equipped. However, the relatives rejected the offer. On 7 February 2024, the relatives brought Mr Murib and Mr Kogoya from the hospital back to the village. They treated them with traditional medicine because they feared further violence or criminalisation by the authorities.

Mr Werinus Murib died as a result of the injuries he sustained during the torture

Mr Devius Kogoya and Andinus Murib

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Gome (-3.58228175694363, 137.407399926596)
administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Tengah Province, Puncak Regency, Gome District, Mangguma Village
total number of victims: three
period of incident: 04.02.2024
perpetrator: other security forces
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues: indigenous peoples, torture, ill-treatment 
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Andinus Muribmale21indigenoustorture
1Devius Kogoya (Wanikbo)male20indigenoustorture
1Werinus Muribmale19indigenoustorture, execution