On 19 September, 2020, Christian pastor Yeremia Zanambani was found shot dead outside his home in the village of Hitadipa in Intan Jaya district, sparking outrage and pressure from church groups for an investigation.
Pastor Yeremia was well known and respected among the Moni people in the remote areas of Papua. He served as District Superintendent and helped with the translation of the Bible into the Moni language.
In a statement, Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission said that a fact-finding team believed the military had tortured the pastor in the country’s Papua region in a bid to extract information on stolen military weapons and the whereabouts of a missing soldier, before shooting him dead. After a separate government fact-finding probe, Indonesia’s chief security minister said that security forces or a “third party” may have had some involvement. The investigation revealed that the pastor suffered torture before being forced to kneel and be shot.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Institution for the Protection of Witnesses and Victims (LPKS) agreed to protect witnesses in the case to ensure that all witnesses will be able to make their testimonies freely, without having to fear attacks or acts of intimidation.
Resource-rich Papua has been plagued by a long-standing conflict between security forces and separatist groups since its absorption into Indonesia in 1969. A report commissioned by the Papua governor stated that the province has become an armed conflict zone in the period 2019/2020 due to the presence of two significant security forces, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).