Slain Papuan Pastor’s Two Nephews Allegedly Killed by the Military
12/29/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Last week, military investigators in Indonesia revealed that Indonesian soldiers in Papua province killed two brothers accused of being separatist rebels in their custody, burned their bodies and dumped their ashes into a river to cover their tracks last April.
According to Radio Free Asia, on December 23, the commander of the Military Police Corps, Lt. Gen. Dodik Widjanarko stated that the investigators have identified nine army personnel as suspects in the deaths of Luther Zanambani (23) and Apinus Zanambani (22), and are probing the possible involvement of three other soldiers.
Luther and Apinus were detained in April at a military post in Sugapa, a district in Papua’s Intan Jaya regency, on suspicion of being members of the Free Papua Movement separatist group during an anti-rebel operation, Dodik said.
The Zanambani family searched for the brothers for months after they were arrested on April 21. Although TNI (Indonesian National Army) at one point admitted the arrest of the two, they claimed to have released both of them.
In fact, during the interrogation, the soldiers tortured the pair until Apinus lost his life. Luther, who was about to be transferred to another post, died from critical injury. To cover up their acts, TNI members then burned the bodies of Apinus and Luther before pouring the ashes into the Julai River, Hitadipa.
What is noteworthy is that Luther and Apinus were the nephews of pastor Yeremia Zanambani, who was brutally murdered in September, allegedly also at the hands of TNI soldiers.
Yones Douw, a Papuan human rights activist told RFA that he suspected that the death of pastor Yeremia was connected to the deaths of his nephews.
“They were like his own children. Since their disappearance, Yeremia had spoken out demanding the TNI come clean and reveal the perpetrators,” he said.
In 2020, the restive Papua has seen deaths of several Christians who were accused of being separatists. The extrajudicial killings done by TNI have been condemned by various human rights groups and church organizations.
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