Indonesian independent National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM), has just released a statement that the riots and humanitarian tragedies that took place in Wamena ,’ by incorrect news or hoax.
Komnas HAM has investigated the tragedy and looked closely at what could be the cause of such calamity. In fact, according to Ahmad Taufan Damanik of the independent commission, they have been in Papua since August 19, 2019, to investigate the riots triggered by racial issues in Surabaya.
“On Wednesday (18/9) there was an aide, or a substitute teacher at SMA PGRI Wamena named Riris Pangabean who asked students to speak loudly (keras). ‘You have to speak loudly (keras)’, but the student heard was different, like ‘kera’ or monkey,” said Ahmad at Komnas HAM, Jakarta, Monday (30/9)
On the day of the alleged miscommunication incident, there was not any problem at all. But the next day there were reportedly people who are angry after hearing the false news.
Then the teacher of SMA PGRI Wamena explained that it was not true. Several days passed without any incident and they assumed that they were finished, and even the students and teachers sang together to celebrate one of the students who were celebrating his birthday.
But the issue was already spread to other students and people from different schools and communities. So on Monday, the school principal told Riris not to come to school because some rallies were already happening. Even part of the school building was damaged because a number of people attacked it.
Then, on Monday (23/9) another rally began to grow. According to Taufan, it was surprising that the alleged racial statements had been resolved since Saturday, but the riot continued.
“This riot seemed to be looking systematic on the days of Wednesday and Thursday. There was even nothing happened at the time until the unexpected damage and burn of school, shop and other government buildings. Now the victims reached 31 people,” he said. “It’s finished at the event but suddenly exploded everywhere. It seems like people were prepared to damage the city and they came from everywhere. Then they burned the buildings, then followed up by the violence that caused the unexpected number of the death tolls, ” he said.
According to Taufan, the demonstration that led to the riots must be investigated because it looks the suspect was not the people of Wamena.
“It is not clear because there are many people who say they are not familiar with the people on the rally,” Taufan said.
Komnas HAM stipulated that the alleged use of weapons and firearms by the criminals that caused the death tolls and people wounded need to be further investigated. Until today it has been reported that the death toll reaches 31 people and 77 others wounded. Most of the victims are non-Papuan people from various ethnics. Meanwhile, about 224 cars were burnt, alongside other 150 for motorbikes, 165 homes, 465 shops and 5 offices including the office of local government.
The commission suspected this riot had been systematically designed.
“It is obviously suspicious because there were shooting everywhere, as explained by the people of Wamena that they are not sure who was doing this,” said Taufan. (*)