Papuan students studying in Java Island in a protest demanding justice for committed violence by the Indonesian military against civilians in Ndugama, Papua – Jubi/AMP Documentation

Sorrow in Nduga: Residents fear their family member kidnapped, dead, allegedly by security personnel


West Papua No.1 News Portal | Jubi


Nabire, Jubi – An activist who had been part of a search party that was looking for Yermias Giban said that Giban, a Nduga Regency resident, was likely kidnapped by a man who wore a “loreng” uniform or a camouflage pattern when he was cutting woods in his field.


The activist, Neltus Kogeya, told Jubi on March 30, 2021, that Giban went missing on March 29 and the last time Giban’s wife saw him, a person in a camouflage uniform approached him and warned her, with his hands, to go away from the site.



The chronology Kogeya received from Giban’s wife and friends said that on March 29, Giban and his wife went to their field in Kenyam District at 8 am. “The field is located on the riverbank, between Kenyam and Baneak. They went to the field to tend to their long bean field,” Kogeya said.


Read also: Indonesia ‘must take responsibility’ for Nduga and Intan Jaya displaced people 


When they reached the field, Giban told his wife that he wanted to cut woods near the long bean field. When he did not return for quite some time, his wife approached him to check. She saw him and she asked him to leave the place.


“The wife said she saw traces of army boots on the way to their field. She concluded that soldiers once went to this place. She insisted they went home but the husband wanted to cut woods,” he said, quoting Giba’s wife’s accounts.


Kogeya said the wife walked away but after only about 10 meters, she heard a person’s voice, and she estimated it was exactly at her husband’s location. So she went back but before reaching the spot she saw a person in a camouflage uniform took away her husband.


Read also: 18 Nduga displaced residents in Jayawijaya die after being denied healthcare access


Another “anggota”, which literally means “member” but also refers to security personnel members, saw her approaching her husband, and the man gave Giban’s wife a hand gesture to go away from the scene. Giban’s wife went home and told what she saw to her family members in Kenyam, Nduga.


The following day, Giban’s relatives gathered and walked together to the field with some Indonesian Military members to check Giban’s condition.


“But Giban’s family and his wife only saw some blood spots. After that, other residents came to the area to help look for the victim but we had yet to find him,” he said.


Kogeya said now the residents were waiting for Nduga Regency administration, Nduga Legislative Council, Nduga public figures, to find a solution about Giban’s welfare.


“We hope (if he’s dead) his body will be returned to the family. If he’s alive, return him to the family. He did not do anything wrong, he went to a field. Is unbelievable that someone goes to tend his crops and has to be kidnapped like that,” he said.


A Nduga resident, Arius Tabuni, said the security personnel had to stop accusing civilians of something they do not know. “Can we go to our field? Where can we get food if we get kidnapped in our own field? Taken away and dead,” he said.


Nduga Regency has been an unsafe place for its civilians amid a prolonged conflict between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) that began on Dec. 2, 2018, when TPNPB shot 16 people who were working on a bridge in Nduga. Since then violent and deadly conflicts erupted.


According to a report made by Nduga Regency administration, NGOs, and church workers, released in August 2019, 37,000 Nduga residents had been displaced because of the conflicts. Up until now, the thousands of people still lived in limbo and too afraid to return to Nduga.


Editor: Kristianto Galuwo

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