West Papua students ‘shot by militias’ as video of soldiers firing on crowds emerges

West Papua students ‘shot by militias’ as video of soldiers firing on crowds emerges

Three students believed shot in dormitories on Sunday, as video emerges of last week’s clashes in which soldiers fire on peaceful protests

Three West Papuan students have reportedly been shot in their dormitories by militia groups amid growing tensions in the region, as disturbing footage emerged of Indonesian soldiers firing on peaceful demonstrators during clashes last week in which protesters say six died.

The Papuan students were attacked in a dormitory in Abepura district, Jayapura, by police-backed armed militias on Sunday. One student was killed by a bullet wound to the chest. The students were reportedly attacked as they tried to defend themselves from vigilantes from a pro-Jakarta group calling itself Masyarakat Nusantara (Archipelago Community).

Papuan protesters allege non-Papuan vigilante groups are being encouraged by police and military to attack Papuans during what has been more than a fortnight of protests over racial discrimination and abuse as well as calls for independence from Indonesia.

Despite an internet blackout across Papua and West Papua, footage has emerged showing soldiers firing at a crowd of demonstrators outside a government office in Deiyai last week: some of the demonstrators are standing with their hands in the air, as soldiers move in.

Protesters say six people were killed in the confrontation, and more than a dozen injured, after a police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration that had occupied the regent’s office in the middle of Deiyai city.

Victor Yeimo from the West Papua National Committee said: “They [went] inside peacefully, but suddenly, without any provocation police opened fire into the mass of demonstrators. Then … people attacked with bow and arrow.”

Photos have emerged of the body of one Indonesian soldier killed in the clash last Wednesday, his body pierced with arrows.

Papua police spokesperson Commander Anton Ampang has disputed the death count, saying one protester was killed, and that security forces opened fire only after being attacked. “Around 1,000 people armed with arrows, spears and machetes joined the protesters and started to dance the Waita dance [a traditional war dance] and threw rocks at the security forces,” Anton said in a statement.

Military personnel in a car were attacked, he said.

Protesters say six people were killed in the confrontation, and more than a dozen injured, after a police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration that had occupied the regent’s office in the middle of Deiyai city.

Victor Yeimo from the West Papua National Committee said: “They [went] inside peacefully, but suddenly, without any provocation police opened fire into the mass of demonstrators. Then … people attacked with bow and arrow.”

Photos have emerged of the body of one Indonesian soldier killed in the clash last Wednesday, his body pierced with arrows.

Papua police spokesperson Commander Anton Ampang has disputed the death count, saying one protester was killed, and that security forces opened fire only after being attacked. “Around 1,000 people armed with arrows, spears and machetes joined the protesters and started to dance the Waita dance [a traditional war dance] and threw rocks at the security forces,” Anton said in a statement.

Military personnel in a car were attacked, he said.

Source: The Guardian

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