Investigate Killing of Priest in Papua

Responding to the apparent shooting to death of Yeremia Zanambani (68), a local senior priest in Intan Jaya, Papua, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

“This shooting may represent the state’s inability to bring accountability to Papua. For years, the Papuans’ freedom to live in peace and security has been denied when in fact the state has an obligation to protect life.”

“Consequently, a thorough investigation of this killing is indispensable to ensure justice, promote accountability and prevent impunity in the future.”

“Indonesian authorities must ensure an immediate, independent, impartial and effective investigation of this case, including the claim from local church leaders that the military is responsible of the killing. Its results should be transparent and open to the victim’s family and the general public. The truth shall prevail.”


On 19 September afternoon, Yeremia Zanambani, the deputy chief of the Indonesian Evangelical Christian Church in the district of Hitadipa, Intan Jaya, Papua, was killed. According to local sources, Zanambani went to his farm to feed his pigs with his wife, but he insisted on staying longer. On the evening, his wife found him dead.

The police and military stated that the armed group (advocating for self-determination) was behind his death, saying the group was seeking global attention ahead of the UN General Assembly session starting at the end of this month, but that no perpetrator has been caught or investigated.

For the past week, there has been intense armed contacts between the military and the KKB in the region. Prior to Zanambani’s death, a soldier named Private Dwi Akbar, was shot in Intan Jaya. He was targeted when assigned to the region for the establishment of new Military Subdistrict and District Commands.

Local activists in Papua, who have been in close communication with the priest’s family, however, rejected the claim by police and the military. In fact, they allege the military searched for members of the armed group in order to seek perpetrators of the previous killing of the two military officers and shot Zanambani. The activists and his family deny the priest’s involvement in the armed group.

Amnesty International Indonesia’s monitoring shows there has been at least five unlawful killings with eight victims in Papua over the past three months, making them 15 cases and 22 victims in total in 2020.