18 Houses Burnt Down - Police Fails to Prosecute Perpetrators

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On Saturday morning, September 6, 2014, between 08.00 and 09.00 East Indonesia Time (EIT) a Javanese woman named Catur Yuda (35 years) was killed at Arso I, Keerom Regency by her neighbour Hilarius Gombo (40), a man from the Papuan Central Highlands, as reported by the JPIC office of the Protestant Church in Papua (GKI-TP). Gombo killed Catur Yuda by hitting her with a machete to the neck. After the homicide the perpetrator went to disitrict police station Keerom and confessed the killing. 30 minutes later the police arrived at the site of crime and took the victim's body to the Keerom Kwaingga hospital for autopsy without securing the site of crime and surrounding area. After the police had left the site of crime, migrants from the neighbourhood gathered in order to burn down the perpetrator's house. Besides the perpetrator's house, the group of migrants also burnt 17 other houses to the ground. All 18 houses belonged to indigenous Papuans from the central highlands.

 

The group that had commited the arson attack declared that they would destroy the houses of all indigenous Papuans in Keerom if a migrant were bothered or in case of a revenge attack. For a week after the events, both the indigenous and migrant community armed themselves in anticipation of retaliatory attacks and the situation was very tense. Some of those whose houses were burnt down are still living in tents or in a local vocational education centre. Currently the community has returned to their daily activities. The police has so far failed to undertake steps to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the arson attack.

Community members have stated that Hilarius Gombo had been suffering from mental health problems ever since a malaria illness he sustained six years ago and had been in treatment at a psychiatric hospital several times in the past years.