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Papuan youth set alight by Indonesian civil security officers

3 November, 2011

Evidence has emerged of a horrific attack on a Papuan student in the town of Wamena in West Papua’s central highlands.

According to a report received by TAPOL, at around 04:45 am on Wednesday 19 October, Yusuf Hiluka, 23, was stopped outside the office of the Regent of Jayawijaya District by two officers from Satpol PP (Satuan Polisi Pamong Praja), the district civil security unit, while making his way from a friend’s house to the Wamena bus terminal. Without questioning Mr Hiluka, the Satpol PP officers poured glue on his head and set it alight. Mr Hiluka’s head and the back of his neck were engulfed in flames.

Mr Hiluka fled screaming to the nearby police station to seek protection. The perpetrator was detained immediately and held in police detention. An investigation has been conducted, and in accordance with customary law, a payment by the perpetrators to the victim’s family is being arranged.

Mr Hiluka suffered burns to his forehead and hands, and according to reports he is still awaiting hospital treatment for his wounds.

The motive for this attack is not known, but it is yet another unexplained incident in a series of violent events that have devastated West Papua in recent months. It occurred on the same day that up to six people were killed during the violent dispersal of the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress by Indonesian security forces in the provincial capital, Jayapura.1

TAPOL calls on the regional Chief of Police, Inspector General Bekto Suprapto, to recognise the gravity of this cowardly attack, ensure that a thorough independent criminal investigation is carried out and that those responsible are brought to justice. The use of customary law in such cases cannot be deemed sufficient, either in obtaining justice for the victim, in punishing the perpetrator, or in acting as a deterrent against future violations.

1. See TAPOL/WPAT/ETAN press release, ‘Indonesian crackdown on Papuan Congress sparks outrage’, 20 October 2011, at


Contact: Paul Barber +44 (0) 7747 301 739 or