A screenshot of a video footage shows two Air Force soldiers take down a Papuan man in Merauke on July 26, 2021.

Air Force Soldiers Detained for Stepping on Mute Papuan’s Head


JULY 28, 2021

Jakarta. Two Air Force soldiers have been detained after a disturbing video went viral showing they took down a mute Papuan man and one of them pressed his boot on his head, Indonesian Military Commander Chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said on Wednesday.

At least two middle-ranking officers at the Johannes Abraham Dimara Air Force Base in Merauke, Papua, were also suspended for “failing to impose the standards of conduct” on soldiers.

“I have ordered the handover of duties tonight without any delay,” Hadi said in a news conference in Jakarta.

The cellphone video footage showed two soldiers in their uniform intervened in an angry argument between a chicken porridge trader and a native Papuan, who is mute.


In the video that lasts 1 minute and 20 seconds, one soldier shouted to the man: “Hey, what’s going on? Are you drunk?”

Both soldiers then dragged the man out of the food stall and took him down, one kneeling on his back and the other stepping on his head for about ten seconds.

The footage, seen by the Jakarta Globe, also shows that just before the soldiers arrived, the mute man behaved angrily in front of two other men and took off his t-shirt as if he wanted a fight.

It remains unckear what had triggered the argument before the soldiers arrived at the scene.

The military said the incident in Indonesia's easternmost province occurred on Monday.

The soldiers were on their way for lunch at a nearby restaurant selling Padang food, the traditional cuisine of West Sumatra, Antara news agency reported.

The military chief expressed disgust to the incident regardless of the surrounding circumstance and vowed to take stern measures against those involved.

“How could they treat a disabled person like that? It makes me angry," Hadi said.

Air Force spokesman Indan Gilang Buldansyah said the two soldiers are being detained by the Military Police as investigation is underway.

"We are taking response to this incident and the two soldiers will receive stern measures according to the law of the TNI [Indonesian Military],” Indan said.

Identities of the two soldiers are given only by initials as Sergeant A and Airman V.