Tue, 14 May 2002

TNI assassin botches murder of Theys' murder witness

Tiarma Siboro and Yogita Tahilramani

The Jakarta Post Jakarta

The National Military Police Headquarters has put a key witness in the November 2001 murder of Papua Presidium Council leader Theys Hiyo Eluay under its protection following an alleged murder attempt against him last Friday, an officer said on Monday.

National Military Police chief Maj. Gen. Sulaiman AB confirmed that Yaret Imoy, a civilian witness in the alleged murder of Theys in November 2001, had been placed in its protection following Friday's murder attempt.

"Yes, there has been an attempt to execute Yaret Imoy last Friday. Therefore, we've put him under our protection," Sulaiman said.

He also confirmed that the Papua Provincial Military Police arrested on Saturday Sgt. Yani, a member of the Trikora Regional Military Command's Tribuana Task Force in Papua, for the murder attempt.

A National Police source also confirmed the arrest of Yani, saying military police had detained a member of Kopassus for the alleged shooting last Friday.

He said that late on Friday night Yani had shot in the direction of Yaret.

"This sergeant shot, but missed. Local military police officers in Papua are questioning him now over the motive for the shooting," said a high-ranking police officer who requested anonymity.

Sulaiman said the military police were seeking to transfer the latest six suspects in the Theys' murder case, all members of the Tribuana Task Force, into its custody.

"Currently, the six suspects are still at the Kopassus Headquarters in Cijantung, East Jakarta," he said.

The six, who are non-commissioned officers, are identified as WS, AL, BG, ED, IR and GR. They are the subordinates of three middle-ranking and lower-ranking officers of the Task Force who have previously been named suspects in the murder case.

The first three suspects were identified as Lt. Col. Hartomo, Maj. Doni Hutabarat and Capt. Rianaldo.

Theys was found dead on Nov. 11, 2001, a few hours after he had attended the National Heroes Day commemorations at the Jayapura headquarters of Kopassus.