Utikini: Dozens arrested and hundreds flee homes

14 Jan 2015
Markus Haluk

On 1 January following the shooting of two police and one security staff of Freeport, police arrested 13 people and detained them at Mimika police station (polres). Their initials are: KW, KMW, DT, JK, MLW, PM, AW, DW, SM, MIW, MRW, KM and NW. They are currently detained in Mimika police station.

On 7 January the police and the military arrested 116 people consisting of 65 men, 48 women and three children. Around 92 of them were only arrested because they possessed ID cards for the West Papua Interest Association (a group supporting self-determination). Of the 116 arrested, only 64 were questioned.  

The Head of the Regional Police, Inspector General Drs Yotje Mende, SH, M. Hum directly lead the operation in Timika comprising 1,576 troops from the police mobile brigades (Brimob) unit, the Amole Task Force (Satuan Tugas Amole), the district military command, and the infantry batalion, with the aid of two helicopters owned by military and police. There was also a standby force of around 500 Brimob from the Papua regional police.   

On 7 January 2015, a civilian with the initial W was shot by a member of the Brimob.

Since the incident occured, combined forces of police and military have burned hundreds of tents owned by civlians who were gold-panning in the Freeport tailings area. The police and military also burned and destroyed houses owned by civilians from Utikini village, Tembagapura district, Mimika, Papua.

Several hours later, a pastor from Tembagapura reported that the police and military had surrounded and taken control of Utikini village, causing hundreds of civlians to flee to the forest. The primary access route between Utikini and Tembagapura, Timika was subsequently patrolled by police and military. Thousands of civlians settled in the Tembagapura district are now living with the pressure and intimidation of police and military.

Access to information from Tembagapura and Utikini is very difficult because police and military have taken total control of the area.