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Pacific News Minute: Unrest in West Papua After Police Shooting

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Protests in West Papua this week, after Indonesian Police shot two 17 year old boys - one of whom died. This is the fifth time this year that civilians have been fired on by soldiers or police in the restive province, with now eight reported killed.  We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

According to reports, Indonesian police pursued two seventeen year old high school students near a market on Monday and opened fire.  Kaleb Bogau was hit in the chest and died on the scene.  Efrando Sabarofek was wounded in the chest and leg and was reported in critical condition.  As yet, there's been no public statement by police, but Kaleb Bogau's family described the shooting as a political assassination and reportedly refused an apology sent by text message from Paulus Waterpau, the regional chief of police.

The dead boy's father, the Reverend Obed Bogau, is active in a West Papuan independence group. Reports say he asked police to investigate both this case and an incident last month in the same area:  Timika, when soldiers fired into a group of ethnic Kamoros at a traditional celebration and killed two.  Shortly afterwards, an Indonesian Military Spokesman said the soldiers had been attacked by a mob and fired in self-defense, but the Regional commander, Brigadier General Supartidi, told the Jakarta Post that two officers were drunk when they fired into the crowd and had been arrested.

Last month, West Papuan activists appealed to the Pacific Islands Forum to send a team into West Papua to investigate human rights abuses.  The Indonesian representative bluntly told the Forum to "stay out of our business, and not to meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign state".  There was no move to establish a fact finding mission.

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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