Police officers open fire at 16-year-old Papuan in Dogiyai Regency

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk of the Papuan Tabernacle Church (JPIC Kingmi Papua) has documented another case of police violence against indigenous Papuans. The incident occurred in the Ugapuga village of the Kamu district, Dogiyai regency. According to the information received, seven police officers in plainclothes opened fire at a group of young men who had consumed alcoholic drinks and were stopping passing cars to bag for money. Sixteen-year-old Yan (Keiya Mabipai) Agapa sustained a bullet wound in the left thigh. The family decided not to bring Yan Agapa to the general hospital because they feared further repressive acts by security force members.

On 23 August 2020, in the early morning hours, four Papuan boys were sitting and drinking alcoholic beverages at the parish hall of the Catholic church in Ugapuga. Around 8.00 am, the group decided to set up a roadblock and ask passing drivers for money. Around 10.30 am, a white Toyota Avanza minivan with seven officers in plain clothes came to Ugapuga to look for the boys after drivers had filed complaints against them. When the officers saw the group sitting in front of the church, they pulled their guns and released several warning shots, at which point the boys panicked and ran away.

After a short while, Yan Agapa decided to approach the police officers. He asked, ‘why were you shooting at us?’ Thereupon, one of the officers pulled his gun and released four shots at Yan Agapa from a distance of approximately three meters. One projectile pierced Yan Agapa’s thigh from back to front as he was trying to escape. He fell on the ground. Subsequently, the plain-clothes officers returned to their car and left the village. Around 11.30 am, Yan Agapa’s parents brought their son back to their home and treated the bullet wound with traditional medicine. The relatives demand an independent and effective investigation against the police officers.