Col. Muhammad Aidi, spokesman for the Papua regional district military command, said a soldier opened fire on the crowd after they started attacking the members of a military post. (B1 Photo)

Four Killed After Supporters of Legislative Candidate Storm District Office in Papua

BY : ROBERT ISIDORUS

MAY 29, 2019

Jakarta. Four people were killed and one wounded when a soldier opened fire on a mob of angry supporters of a regional legislative council candidate, who failed to win a seat in the recent election, stormed the Asmat district office in Papua on Monday.

The candidate reportedly believed he had won a seat, but the chairman of his political party replaced his name with that of another candidate.

"The legislative candidate did not accept the decision and mobilized around 350 people, armed with sharp and traditional weapons, who attacked the district office and the home of a council member named Handayan," Col. Muhammad Aidi, a spokesman for the Papua regional military command, said on Monday.

He did not reveal the identity of the losing candidate, nor the name of the political party.

Four members of the Fayit district military post, who were stationed about 50 meters from the district office, responded and tried to maintain order.

"A member of the district military post fired his gun into the air to disperse the crowd, but they became even more violent and started attacking the Army personnel. Feeling threatened, another member was forced to fire [at the crowd] while retreating toward the post to save himself and secure the post with limited support," Aidi said.

The four deceased were identified as Xaverius Sai, 40, Nikolaus Tupa, 38, Matias Amunep, 16, and Frederikus Inepi, 35. 

Jhon Tatai, 25, was shot in both arms and taken to the Asmat public hospital.

A 25-member team of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police have since been deployed to Fayit to stabilize the area. Aidi said the situation has returned to normal.

"After receiving the report, the Papua regional military commander, Maj. Gen. Yosua Pandit Sembiring, acted quickly and coordinated with the Papua Police chief and the National Commission on Human Rights [Komnas HAM] to form an investigation team to obtain accurate information on the incident," Aidi said.

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