Military member opens fire at group of protesters in Asmath regency – four protesters killed, another four injured

The forceful dispersal of a protest by a group of supporters of a local election candidate has resulted in the killing of four indigenous Papuans on 27 May 2019 in Basim Village in the district of Fayit, Asmath Regency. Four other protesters were injured during the incident. According to local media outlets the protest occurred shortly after the local election commission announced the election results. At 10.00 am, an angry mob of approximately 350 protesters began vandalizing the house of a newly elected local parliament member. Three military members - namely second sergeant Jamaludin Retop, corporal Eko Saputro and sergeant FR - who were guarding a nearby military post saw the incident and attempted to disperse the crowd using firearms instead of applying means of de-escalation.


The military members released several warning shots into theJhon Tatai edit air which upon the angry mob attacked the military members. Four protesters – one of the a minor - sustained lethal bullet wounds as Sergeant FR released multiple shots into the crowd using live ammunition. Four other protesters were allegedly wounded (see table below). Jhon Tatai had to be hospitalized with two bullet injuries in the left elbow and the right hand (see intro image). His left arm had to amputated above the elbow (see image on the right) because the bullet had severely shattered the elbow.

The police and military formed a joint investigation team, consisting of members of military police, military legal service and medical service of the XVII/Cenderawasih military area command and members of 174/ATW military region command, as well as officers of the Papuan Regional Police and the Papuan representative office of the National Human Rights Commission (KOMNAS HAM Perwakilan Papua). The team launched an investigation into the shooting on 28 May 2019 while the local government has taken efforts to implement a reconciliation process. According to the spokesperson of XVII Cenderawasih military command, colonel Muhammad Aidi, the three soldiers have been transferred to Merauke. Sergeant FR, who is the main suspect in the current investigations, is a member of Zeni Tempur 11/Mit Anim military command in the regency of Merauke.

Table with victims during the shooting in Fayit District, Asmath Regency


Name of victim




Xaverius Sai


Victim died, sustained bullet wound


Nikolaus Tuba


Victim died, sustained bullet wound


Matias Amunep


Victim died, sustained bullet wound


Frederikus Inepi


Victim died, sustained bullet wound


Jhon Tatai


Hospitalized, victim sustained bullet wounds on the left elbow and right hand, left arm had to be amputated


Salmon Firap


Victim sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized


Fitalis Akun


Victim sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized


Leo Pakanam


Victim sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized