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By Wens Manggut

JAKARTA, Indonesia (April 2-8, 2002 – Tempo Magazine)---A lot of peculiarities surround the death of Theys Hiyo Eluay. Two versions are given for his death. On Sunday, November 11, 2001, Adj. Com. Daud Sihombing, chief of the Jayapura police, told members of the media that Theys was strangled to death. The next day, Doctor Clemens Manyakori, director of the Jayapura General Hospital, reported that Theys died of asphyxiation as indicated by sperm in his pants. He did not die from strangulation.

The doctors' report has since become a polemic. There were suggestions that Theys' heart be brought to a police forensic laboratory in Makassar, South Sulawesi, for examination. But the Theys family refused. Strangely, two months after his father's burial, Boy Eluay found out that Theys' heart was kept by his stepmother, Yaneke Eluay. The son and mother have since not been on speaking terms. When contacted by TEMPO, Yaneke refused to make any comment.

Another peculiarity relates to Ismail Nalli, a resident of Koya Tengah, a transmigration area where Theys' body was found, who reported what he saw to the police. Nalli was later hauled off by members of Kopassus to their headquarters in Hamadi, where he reportedly was forced to keep his mouth shut and not make public what he had told the police.

Aristoteles, Theys' driver and nephew, has since disappeared. He was last reported calling Yaneke by telephone telling her of what had happened to her husband. Early last month the National Investigation Commission disinterred what looked like graves near the Kopassus headquarters, but no bodies were found. It's still unclear whether Aristoteles is still alive.

The fact that Theys' car could easily enter the Koya Tengah area through two heavily guarded checkpoints is also peculiar. "The perpetrators are clearly members of Kopassus," says Jhon Rumbiak, supervisor Elsham Papua. But, he adds, the men only carried out orders from Jakarta where Theys was considered a danger to national integrity.



By I G.G. Maha Adi, Arif A. Kuswardono, Cunding Levi (Jayapura)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (April 2-8, 2002 – Tempo Magazine)---He has a hefty build and golden-brown skin. His nickname is Doni. Holding the rank of major, this Military Academy graduate is the second in command at the Kopassus (Special Forces) Tribuana Base, which is headquartered in Hamadi, Jayapura. He also hails from Kopassus Group 5, an anti-terror unit.

Rionaldo, Doni's partner, is handsome and athletic. He shows no visible signs of being an elite forces soldier, except perhaps for the trademark crew cut. Also a graduate of the Military Academy, he was just promoted to captain in October 2000.

Doni and Rionaldo -- according to a local police report that was obtained by TEMPO -- are two of seven Kopassus officers in Hamadi who are suspected of leading the Theys Eluay murder operation. They were assisted by five noncommissioned officers at the corporal level going by the names of Agus, Yadi, Nyoman, Made, and Sanusi.

At the end of last year, they had been interrogated by officers of the Papua police department. But is it true that they are the members of the team, which was created to eliminate the Free Papua figure?

Although the Head of the TNI Information Office has already verified the involvement of Kopassus officers, details of the murder case are still shrouded in mystery. Kopassus itself has tightly sealed off all information connected with the matter -- especially where the command to kill Theys originated from.

The Commandant General of Kopassus, the Commander of the Trikora Military District, and the Army Chief of Staff have all said that there was no order to kill anyone.

So far, the possibility that they acted upon their own motives appears remote. The execution team was helped by other supporting teams. A TEMPO investigation says that they received an order, which did not follow the regular chain of command, but was a direct order to a small unit.

One TEMPO source said that a captain from the Sandi Yudha Battalion (a special forces battle intelligence unit) was involved in masterminding the operation. But it appears that even this one had just received an order from a superior officer -- someone with the rank of lieutenant colonel -- which did not pass through the Kopassus command channel. T hey received the order from an outside intelligence body.

The murder, according to the source, was well planned. In the first stage, several members of the team approached the Theys family. From the names given above, Agus, Nyoman, and Made became well known to the family. According to Boy, Theys’ son, they often came to his father's home. As an ondoafi or head of the Sentani ethnic group, Theys was accustomed to receiving whoever visited his house. In fact, they had slept over several times in the room of Theys' driver, Aristoteles Masoka.

We take up the story again on November 10, 2001, the night of the murder. A team of soldiers left half an hour before Theys did, after having attended the Heroes' Day celebration at Kopassus Headquarters in Hamadi. Their duty was to travel from the direction of Kampung Kotaraja, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Hamadi, and intercept Theys' car and kidnap him.

There were four of them, driving a Toyota Kijang and armed at the waist with FN-P1 pistols. Boy Eluay, who says that he received direct instruction from his partner, the driver of the Kijang, said that one Kopassus officer named Nyoman was definitely inside the kidnapper's vehicle. They all wore black uniforms, like some kidnapping scene out of a Hollywood film. After beating Aris, they took Theys to the Koya Tengah region and strangled him to death.

Another team was on duty to secure the route from the location of the kidnapping to the scene of the murder. The length of road secured was about 20 kilometers (12 miles), and normally takes about 40 minutes to traverse. This included the evacuation of several guard posts, which usually thoroughly inspect each vehicle that passes through the area. They mobilized one Kijang and a motocross bike. One commandant led the securing of this route from his Vespa scooter.

The team that secured the road succeeded in its task because that night, unlike other nights, all cars passed by without being inspected. But they were unwittingly spotted by Ismail Nalli, a wild boar hunter and subsequently a police witness. According to an investigation conducted by the Human Rights Advocacy and Study Institute, Nalli recognized three of those who had secured the route that fateful night: Yadi, Agus, and Sanusi.

A high-ranking officer at Kopassus Headquarters in Cijantung admitted that there was a name, which was connected with the Sandi Yudha Battalion as well as some of the names of the suspects mentioned earlier. But he denied that there was a command to kill Theys, and he refused to discuss the possibility that they had received an order outside of the chain of command.

However, if seen from the scope of the operation, it would have been next to impossible for the suspects, if they were really involved, to have acted on their own and for personal motives. It is more likely that they were only sacrificed to protect the names of higher ups.

Several TEMPO sources have said that there was a retired high-ranking officer at one forestry company who felt that Theys had already obstructed the running of his business to the tune of US$40 million.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Websites: and 

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