Papua shooting linked to police investigation
By Matthew Moore, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta
September 17 2002
Gunmen have fired on a car of police officers investigating the murder of three teachers at an international school in Papua as evidence mounts of a campaign of intimidation aimed at thwarting the police inquiry.
Details of this latest shooting emerged just a day after Papua's police chief, Major General Made Pastika, cast doubts over the military's account of how soldiers shot a Papuan man they claimed was responsible for the August attack on a group of mainly American teachers.
General Made said on Sunday that the body of the man killed by soldiers hunting the people who shot the teachers had rigor mortis - which doctors had told him takes at least 12 hours to set in - just two hours after soldiers claimed to have shot him.
Yesterday he confirmed that a car of his investigators was shot at by unidentified gunmen on Saturday at the same time a car of soldiers was also shot at. He said his officers returned fire at the gunmen, who attacked the vehicles at almost the same place where the group of mainly American teachers working for the Freeport gold and copper mine were shot a fortnight earlier.
Having his men shot at did not worry him unduly and he had an open mind as to who was responsible for the latest attacks.
"This is police work; it's very common, even in New York," he said.
As suspicions of military involvement in the Papua shootings mounted, John Rumbiak from the Papua human rights group Elsham said that the number of soldiers should be reduced because they were inflaming a tense situation.
Mr Rumbiak yesterday provisionally identified the Papuan killed by the army a fortnight ago as Danianus Waker, whom he said had been a military informer for the past two years.
He said members of Mr Danianus's family came forward and identified their relative on Friday after seeing his picture in the local paper. His staff had travelled to Mr Danianus's village on Sunday but were stoned and threatened with spears when they got there, and were not able to find his family.
Mr Rumbiak said he had since learned that Mr Danianus's family had been intimidated into not co-operating with his organisation.
People were very frightened, he said.
The head of the military in Papua, Major General Mahidin Simbolon, did not respond to the Herald's calls yesterday.