Three Papuans shot down as police disperses unrest in Keerom

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On 2 October 2020 local police in the Papuan town of Arso in Keerom Regency forcefully dispersed a protest. Shortly before the riot, the results of a civil servant recruitment test was announced and triggered anger among a crowd of residents leading to a spontaneous protest. About 250 protesters complained that the percentage of indigenous Papuans in the recruitment process was below 80% as promoted by the Papuan Governor, Lukas Enembe.

The police officers dispersed the crowd with tear gas and firearms as the protesters were throwing stones at the regent’s office. Witnesses stated that the situation went out of control when the police officers released multiple warning shots. One government office was set on fire during the incident (see photo, source: Jubi). Three protesters sustained bullet injuries during the crowd control operation while police members allegedly beat three other protesters.



The police forces reportedly used rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. Obet Swo sustained bullet injuries on the head and the leg, Robert May was shot in the stomach, and a rubber bullet hit Alan Swo on the leg. Obet Swo and Robert May had to be hospitalized at the Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Jayapura, while Alan Swo was taken into custody at the Keerom District Police station. The Papua Regional Police (Polda Papua) spokesperson, Ahmad Mustafa Kamal, announced that the police would press charges on vandalism and arson against the three injured protesters.