The alleged abuse was carried out by members of the Merauke Regional Police station against three residents on Saturday, November 24, 2018. The current news said those police officers attacked and tortured residents by shooting and injuring them. The incident began when an unknown person carrying an ax rode a motorcycle in the Merauke Hospital complex. The community immediately attacked the person because there was a widespread news about children kidnapping. Because of the commotion, the police came to the crime scene. However, the police instead got assaulted by the residents.
At the time of the incident, Head of Operations of Merauke Regional Police Adjunct Commissioner of Police Leonardo Yoga along with his squad totaling eight people came to the crime scene (where the commotion happened). However, when the Head of Ops was conducting a dialogue with the citizens, suddenly a mass of about 40 people who were allegedly influenced by liquor came holding machetes, axes, iron, beams and arrows provoking other people. They accused the police of cooperating with the kidnappers and told police officers to retreat or return.
Responding to this, police officers tried to calm the mass but were unsuccessful. The community was very difficult to control. They attacked the officers and official vehicles of the Merauke District Police. The car drove by the Head of Ops was damaged entirely, and three police officers were injured.
According to the Chief of Police Bahara Marpaung, as many as 27 people were secured for further interrogation. “The steps that the police have taken regarding the incident occurred were to receive a report, come to the scene, bring the victims to the Merauke General Hospital, secure 27 young people with evidence related to the destruction of the car belonging to the Head of Ops and the attack on police officers, and asked for information from several witnesses who were around the scene.”
The allegations of persecution carried out by the police were unfounded because residents attacked the police who were carrying out security as a result of provocation by other citizens affected by liquor. Regarding hoax circulating about the persecution, an investigation will be carried out on subjects who spread the false news on social media which has caused tremendous public concern.
Most hoaxes in Merauke are related to the struggle for an independent Papua which is sheltered behind the human rights wall. Regarding the conflict, the Merauke Regional Police Chief Bahara Marpaung stressed, “Do not easily believe the deceits that occur on social media or the community related to child kidnapping. Because until now, no one has reported about a kidnapped family member or child. We assume the information on kidnapping is a hoax.” Marpaung appealed to all the people of Papua and especially the people of Merauke Regency to not be easily provoked and pitted by hoax spreaders. Instead, they had to unite together to fight the lies.