New case of enforced disappearance in Intan Jaya Regency – Relatives call upon the police to find Sem Kobogau

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The Papuan media outlet Jubi has reported another case of enforced disappearance from the Intan Jaya Regency, where the armed conflict between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and Indonesian security forces has been ongoing since December 2019. Four military members reportedly arrested Mr Semuel Kobogau (see photo below, source: JPIC Kingmi Papua) inside a small store in Sugapa town on 5 October 2021. Witnesses saw the military members bringing Semuel Kobogau, 31, to the Raider 501 military post.

The following day, Mr Kobogau’s relatives gathered in front of the Intan Jaya District Police station and called upon the police to find Sem Kobogau. On 8 October 2021, the relatives officially reported Semuel Kobogau missing (see photo on top; source: JPIC Kingmi Papua). The police launched an investigation but have not been able to find Mr Kobogau as of 20 October 2021. Meanwhile, the Kodam XVII Cenderawasih military command as well started investigating the allegations of enforced disappearance. The Raider 501 military post in Sugapa has not yet commented on the allegations of enforced disappearance.  

 

Background
Cases of enforced disappearances have significantly increased with the beginning of widespread military operations in the regency of Nduga in December 2018. Human rights defenders have documented six such cases between December 2018 and December 2020.

The most recent case of enforced disappearance in Intan Jaya occurred on 21 April 2020. Military members arrested Apianus Zanambani and Luter Zanambani in the town of Sugapa. An internal military investigation later concluded that army members had arrested and tortured both men resulting in their death. The perpetrators then burned the bodies at the Yonif PR 433/JS Kostrad military base and disposed of the ashes into the river.  

In 2021, Intan Jaya is among the top three hotspots of armed violence in West Paua, with thirteen reported clashes between January and September. The highest number of armed confrontations throughout 2020 was recorded in Intan Jaya, with 25 reported clashes.

The aggravation of the armed conflict in West Papua is particularly worrying as both conflict parties have become more violent than in previous years. It has cost the lives of ten security force members and three TPNPB members between January 2020 and September 2021 in Intan Jaya alone.

Statistics illustrate 14 civilian deaths at the hands of either security forces or TPN PB combatants throughout this period. Moreover, the ICP documented twelve cases of extrajudicial killings of indigenous Papuans in relation to security force operations in Intan Jaya since January 2020. These figures exclude the number of civilians who have died due to stresses during conflict-related internal displacements.

Mr Semuel Kobogau (source: JPIC Kingmi Papua)

Victim Enf Dis Sem Kobogau