Subject: Wamang admits deadly attack on US teachers

Also: Account of Arrests of 12 W.Papuans in Freeport Ambush Case

International Herald Tribune
January 13, 2006

New Twist in Deaths of Americans in Indonesia

By Raymond Bonner
The New York Times

JAKARTA An Indonesian who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington in connection with the killing of two American school teachers in Papua Province has admitted to the police that he fired shots during the ambush, but he also says he saw three men in Indonesian military uniforms firing at the teachers' convoy, his lawyer said Friday.

Anthonius Wamang, the accused, who was turned over by the FBI to the Indonesian police Wednesday, told the police he had been given the bullets by a senior Indonesian soldier, Wamang's lawyer, Albert Rumbekwan, said in a telephone interview from Papua.

The administration of President George W. Bush had pushed hard for a resolution of the case, and expressed satisfaction when Wamang and 11 others suspects, one as young as 14, were detained late Wednesday. But Wamang's statements will likely prolong the investigation, as well as complicate efforts of the Bush administration to resume full military relations with Indonesia. They contradict previous public statements by senior officials from the U.S. administration that the Indonesian military was not involved in the ambush.

Wamang, a member of a Papuan separatist organization, said he had emptied one magazine from an M-16 rifle, Rumbekwan said. Investigators said previously that they had found scores of bullet casings at the scene of the ambush, in 2002, on road owned by an American mining company, Freeport-McMoRan.

Other evidence emerged Friday that could put the United States in an uncomfortable position in this highly nationalistic country. According to the men detained Wednesday, they were lured by the FBI into showing up at a small hotel, and were then promptly turned over to the Indonesian police.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment about Wamang's statements or allegations of an FBI trap.

"We believed we were going to America," Viktus Wanmang, a 57-year-old farmer who was among those who showed up at the hotel and was then detained, said in a telephone interview Friday. He was released, as were three others, on Friday.

The men were told they would be interviewed about the case in the United States because it would be safer for them there, said Denny Yomaki, an officer with the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy in Papua, who spent much of Friday interviewing the men who had been detained and released. The men were told their families would be given 650,000 rupiah, or about $70, for each day they were in the United States, Yomaki said.

The men were told to go to the Amole II Hotel in the town of Timika on Wednesday evening. They arrived with bags packed for a trip to the United States, Wanmang and Yomaki said.

But when they reached the hotel, they were met by two FBI agents and a third American, who some of the men thought was a Freeport employee, Yomaki said. The FBI agents hustled the men into a truck with no windows.

"The car was driven at high speeds," Wanmang said. "When we stopped, when the car door opened, there was a group of police waiting," he said.

None of the men have been charged with any crimes, except Anthonius Wamang, who has been indicted in the United States on two counts of murder and eight counts of attempted murder.

Eight Americans were wounded in the ambush, and an Indonesian teacher was killed, along with two American teachers, Edwin Burgon, of Sun River, Oregon, and Ricky Spier, of Littleton, Colorado. The teachers worked at the Freeport school.

Earlier this year, the group Human Rights Study and Advocacy issued a report connecting Wamang to the Indonesian military. On one occasion, he was paid by the Indonesian military for his travel to Jakarta, the report said.

---

received from S. Eben Kirksey January 12, 2006

The Arrests of 11 January 2005—A Preliminary Account By S. Eben Kirksey

The following account draws on a number of sources on the ground in West Papua.

There was a meeting last night at "Amole Dua", a small hotel in the city of Timika. Paul Myers and Ron Eiowan—two FBI agents investigating a 2002 murder of U.S. citizens—helped coordinate this meeting. Invitations to this meeting were sent to eleven men: suspects in the 2002 killings. A local church leader, Reverend Isak Ondawame, delivered the invitations. Ondawame, along with other prominent leaders in Timika, had been in discussion with U.S. officials about negotiating the surrender of the suspects. Diplomats with the State Department recently assured local indigenous leaders that the U.S. government would ensure humane treatment and a fair trial if the suspects handed themselves in.

Timika is in West Papua, a territory that was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 following a contested referendum. On 31 August 2002, gunmen shot to death two U.S. citizens and one Indonesian citizen while wounding eight other U.S. citizens near Timika. This attack occurred on the heavily guarded main road within the mining project area of U.S.-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. (NYSE symbol: FCX). Initial Indonesian police reports identified the Indonesian military as the likely culprits in the attack. In June 2004, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment of one man in connection with the crime, an Indonesian citizen named Anthonius Wamang.

Wamang was among the eleven men invited to the meeting last night at Amole Dua. At this meeting Special Agents Myers and Eiowan reiterated promises to bring the twelve men to America. The two FBI agents told the 11 men, and Reverend Ondawame, to get into the back of a medium-sized truck. They said it was the first stage of their journey to America. The agents said that they would be safe from Indonesian authorities inside of the truck. Once inside of the truck, with the back door shut, the men could not see out. As it traveled, they did not know where it was bound.

The truck stopped in front of a local Indonesian police station (PolSek). The police station was in Kuala Kencana, a gated community built by Freeport for their employees. Indonesian troops with the elite Brimob (Mobile Brigade) unit were waiting in front of the police. After seeing that the twelve men were in Indonesian custody, Special Agents Myers and Eiowan departed from the police station.

First the Indonesian police officers strip searched the twelve men. Some of the questioning began while detainees were just wearing their underwear. One of the detainees, a man named Yairus Kiwak, claims that he was hit by an Indonesian interrogator on his forehead. Kiwak also claims that he was kicked in his leg. The questioning began about 10:30 at night, and continued until well after dawn.

This morning (12 January), eight of the twelve men were driven to the airport. They were flown on a commercial airliner (Garuda) to West Papua's capital of Jayapura. While being transported, the men were bound in plastic handcuffs. Upon arrival in Jayapura they were driven to the regional police headquarters (POLDA Papua). The four other detainees followed on a second aircraft and were also taken to the regional police headquarters.

The Indonesian police have claimed all of the credit for the arrests. General Sutanto, the head of Indonesia's national police (Kapolri), said in a press statement "last night at 10:30 local time Antonius Wamang, along with twelve others, were captured in Timika". U.S. government officials have done little to publicly claim credit for the arrests. A U.S. government source reported that the FBI was planning to leave West Papua today. Reportedly, there are no U.S. officials present at the regional police headquarters in Jayapura as the twelve men are undergoing further interrogations.

At this moment the fate of the twelve men remains undecided. The Indonesian authorities have not yet formally charged any of them with a crime. Prior to these arrests, the highest officials of the U.S. government claimed that pursuing justice in the 2002 murders was a priority. The events in West Papua of the last 24 hours seem to parallel U.S. government practices elsewhere—having another country conduct interrogations frees U.S. officials and secret agents from being implicated in potential allegations of torture. The question of Indonesian military involvement in the 2002 attacks on American citizens is still open. Indonesians often joke that their country is based on "hukum karet" (rubber law). If the twelve men are tried in Indonesian courts it will be interesting to see how much this rubber might stretch before it breaks.

S. Eben Kirksey is a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is completing his doctoral dissertation on nationalism and violence in West Papua. E-mail: skirksey@ucsc.edu

---------------------- Joyo Indonesia News Service

see also New Facts Link Indonesian Military to "Terror Attack" on U.S. Citizens; Rice May Release IMET to Indonesia Before Investigation Concludes

FBI Said Involved in Arrest of 8 Indonesians in Timika ambush

Papua Puppetry Leaves Murders Unsolved [+Freeport Inquiry]
 


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