Indonesian police said Wednesday they shot dead one man and injured several other people during a clash in Papua sparked by a worker’s refusal to take a dying man to a hospital.
A confrontation broke out in Deiyai district in Indonesia’s easternmost province on Tuesday when a villager asked a group of workers at a company’s construction site to take the person to the hospital.
A worker denied the request, fearing he would be blamed if the patient died en route. This angered locals, who gathered at the site to confront the workers after the patient passed away.
Police deployed to handle the incident shot dead a 28-year-old man.
The shots also injured seven more people, including two children who sustained minor injuries. Three other people who were seriously injured have been flown to the neighboring district of Nabire for treatment.
Papua police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said locals had thrown rocks at members of the police mobile brigade and injured 11 of them.
“We fired warning shots because the situation was dire, there were three warning shots,” Kamal told AFP, adding one of these hit Yulius Pigay and killed him.
The spokesman said police fired another shot at the ground. “Maybe somehow it hit people, the children got hit by bullet fragments.”
Hong Kong-based rights group The Asian Human Rights Commission condemned what it called police brutality in Papua.
Jakarta has long kept a tight grip on resource-rich Papua, with a heavy military and police presence.
But a low-level insurgency continues to smolder, with the Free Papua Movement fighting on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population.