Almost a year later the “bloody Mappi tragedy” still faces legal uncertainty

On 14 December 2022, a tragic incident occurred at Kilometer 2 Kepi in Mappi Regency, South Papua Province, where nine civilians fell victim to a shooting incident. Despite the passage of ten months, this incident has not received a thorough investigation from either the police or the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), raising concerns about justice and accountability.

The victims of this tragic event included 32 year-old Moses Nakas Erro, who died at Mappi Hospital, and eight others who sustained injuries: Otniel Qah Samagoi, Wilhelmus Jeji Samagoi, Sabinus Sokmi Sedap, Basilius Bape Yebo, Yohanes T Sedap, Kaspar Khani Yebo, Ferdinandus Boy, and Rexon Ya. A Pasim. This incident has come to be known as the “Bloody Mappi Tragedy of 14 December 2022.”

A recent press release received by multiple news sources, including Suara Papua and Jubi, on 24 October 2023, highlights the troubling lack of progress in investigating the incident. According to the Papua Law Enforcement and Human Rights Coalition Team, there was no evidence of a clash between the two community groups as initially suggested. Instead, their field findings suggest that authorities may have acted repressively by firing upon civilians, leading to casualties among innocent bystanders.

Arnold Anda, representing LBH Papua Merauke, stated that the investigation has not yielded any concrete results, and complaints to various parties have seemingly fallen on deaf ears. This lack of action has raised serious questions about the commitment of the Papua Regional Police, the Mappi Police Chief, the Papua Police Propam, and Komnas HAM to ensuring justice for the victims of the Bloody Mappi Tragedy. It is essential to remember that upholding and protecting human rights is the responsibility of the state through its government, according to the law.

Nikolaus D. Kombanop, also from LBH Papua Merauke, emphasized the importance of fulfilling the right to justice for the victims in accordance with the country’s legal framework, including Article 28i paragraph (4) of the 1945 Constitution and Article 8 of Law Number 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights. The government is legally obligated to ensure justice for citizens who have suffered due to such incidents.

In light of these legal obligations, LBH Papua Merauke has put forth two demands to address this issue. First, they called for the Papua Police Chief to immediately instruct the Mappi Police Chief to thoroughly investigate the shooting incident that occurred on 14 December 2022, at Kilometer 2 Kepi in Mappi Regency. Second, they implore Komnas HAM, specifically its Papua regional office, not to overlook cases of humanitarian violations, such as this one.

This ten-month-long period of uncertainty regarding the Bloody Mappi Tragedy underscores the need for a swift and comprehensive investigation into the incident. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding human rights and ensuring justice for all citizens. The responsibility falls on the authorities and institutions tasked with safeguarding the rights and well-being of the people, and the public’s demand for accountability remains steadfast. As the investigations continue, it is hoped that the victims and their families will find the closure and justice they rightfully deserve.