The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Two supporters of a former Jayawijaya regent died following a clash with the police in Papua on Monday, after they tried to prevent the police from picking him up to appear in court on charges of misappropriating the administration’s budget.
The clash took place when the police came to former regent David Hubi’s house to assist Wamena District Court staff to bring him to trial as ordered by the court.
The crowd acted brutally, forcing the police to fire warning shots to disperse them.
"The police had to shoot David Hubi’s supporters as they shot the officers with arrows. The shooting was done in self defense," Jayawijaya Police Chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Robert Djoenso, was quoted by Antara as saying.
Two supporters were injured in the incident and taken to Wamena Hospital for treatment but later died in the hospital.
Robert said the situation in Wamena and the surrounding area had returned to normal while some 200 of David’s supporters were taken in for questioning.
"Based on a preliminary intelligence report, David Hubi’s supporters were provoked by certain people who had been promised a promotion by the former regent. They’re afraid of losing the promised position and provoked the supporters to attack the police," he said.
Jayawijaya Police, he said, had requested Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Tommy Jacobus to deploy more police personnel, acknowledging that he did not want a repeat of the Abepura incident in March where five security personnel were killed in a clash.
Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen Tommy Jacobus said David had failed to show up at the previous trials, when the court was examining the witnesses and evidence. The Wamena District Court subpoened him after he refused to answer the summons.
He called on David’s supporters to use peaceful measures to defend the former regent instead of resorting to violence or attacking security personnel. He also urged Jayawijaya residents and community leaders to help calm David’s supporters.
"We’re concerned that there is a certain group trying to provoke people to stage protests. Let the people work in their fields or earn a living for their families instead of involving them in the conflict," he told Antara without identifying the group.
Despite the clash, Monday’s trial proceeded as scheduled with David Hubi attending the trial. After the trial, he was sent to Wamena penitentiary.
Prosecutor Andi Kurniawan said his office decided to forcibly pick up the former regent for the trial. The former regent is accused of embezzling at least Rp 12 billion of the administration’s 2003-2004 budget.
"He had to be picked up since he had ignored two summons to attend the trial at Wamena District Court. When the prosecutor’s staff and the police arrived at David’s house, the crowd had gathered there and when we entered the house, we found so many weapons, like bows, spears and blades," he told Antara.