Indonesia Denies Responsibility For West Papua Shooting Deaths

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Five protestors died after crowd fired upon

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 11, 2014) – Indonesia police and military brass are reportedly distancing themselves from blame for the shooting of the five young West Papuan civilians in the highlands region of Paniai.

Four men were killed and over a dozen injured when security forces, both police and military, allegedly opened fire on a crowd on Monday that was protesting at the Karel Gobai field located near the Paniai District Military Command.

A fifth man died from the bullet injuries a few hours later in hospital.

The Age online reports that Jakarta-based leaders of both the army and police are denying responsibility for the shooting.

The national police chief Sutarman said on Wednesday it was not the police.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘Amnesty International says it's extremely concerned about reports that Indonesian security forces opened fire and killed at least five men, all students, in Paniai in Indonesia's Papua province." Additionally, ‘The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed alarm at the reported killing of five Papuan teenagers by a joint force of Indonesian police and military.’]

A Jakarta-based military counterpart, army chief of staff Gatot Nurmantyo, speculated that, instead of being fired by the armed soldiers and police officers in front of the protesting crowd, the fatal shots came from the top of a hill behind them.

He said he had heard from the Papuan police and military that shots were coming from the top of the hill.

Mr Nurmantyo said he was certain there were no members of the military or the police on the hill.

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched and will be run by a team headed by the Detective Head of the Papuan police, senior commissioner Dwi Iriyanto.

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