Police officers arbitrarily arrest market women in Wamena – one person sustains bullet injury

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Human rights defenders have reported another case of ill-treatment in Wamena, the main city of the Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province. The case occurred on 26 March 2019 at 1.00 pm, as four plain cloth officers of the Jayawijaya District Police were monitoring a local store in Trikora Road, in front of the local military command, where they suspected illegal gambling activities. Twenty-three-year-old Vinsen Kosay sustained a bullet injury in the right foot as he was standing next to the store while the officers arbitrarily arrested three indigenous women, named Kalina Tabuni, Mia Dabi and Mama Rumbewas. The bullet pierced his foot from the outside to the sole (see intro image). The women were selling betel nuts and vegetables in front of the store.

Subsequently, the police officers brought Kalina Tabuni, Mia Dabi, Mama Rumbewas and Visen Kosay in a black pick-up truck to the Irian Street. All suspects were questioned on the loading area of the pick-up truck. The officers allegedly seized the suspects personal belongings, including their mobile phones and money. According to Vinsen, the officers took two million rupiahs (approximately € 130,-) from him. Only the mobile phones were later returned to their owners. The officers told the three women to stop selling their goods in front of the store and threatened them not to report the arrest.     

After being questioned and released, Vinsen Kosay went to the Jayawijaya General Hospital to get medical treatment. He was able to leave the hospital on the same day because the bullet had pierced the foot without splintering or damaging bones. On 27 March 2019, the chief of the 1702 WMX military command called Kalina Tabuni, Mia Dabi, Mama Rumbewas and Visen Kosay for a meeting at the military base in Yos Sudarso Road at 1.00 pm. During the  meeting they were asked to explain what had happened during the incident.