PNG: Defence Force to Investigate Shooting of Young West Papuan

PORT  MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier / Pacific Media Watch): A 19-year-old man is receiving treatment for gunshot wounds after about five Papua New Guinea soldiers allegedly opened fire on him and two other West Papuans.

The Indonesian Consul to Papua New Guinea, Jahar Gultom, announced in a statement that the PNG Defence Force would investigate the shooting.

PNGDF soldiers apparently shot Eduard Aritahano in the leg during the early hours of Wednesday morning in Lido Village near Vanimo town in Sandaun Province.

According to preliminary reports from the PNGDF based in Vanimo, the incident began when Edward Aritahanu and two others, Meki Aritahanu, 50, and Irene Yoku, 15, tried to escape when being asked what he was carrying in his boat.

Indonesian Consul Gultom on the other hand said reports obtained sid that the PNG military fired three shots from around 60m away from the boat, injuring Edward on the leg.

The reports stated that five PNG soldiers opened fire on the three as they were on their way from Jayapura, Papua, to Lido village in PNG by motorboat to meet relatives who are PNG citizens.

But reports from the PNGDF say the victim was positioned inside the 6m speedboat with two 40hp Yamaha motors which floated within a distance of 20m from Lido Beach when the incident occurred.

Reports also from the victim’s father, Mecky Aritahano who claimed to be an eye witness, stated that he saw the five soldiers point a gun from a car, aiming toward the speed boat and fired three shots.

Gultom said a meeting was convened between the two countries’ defence personnel and during that meeting, the PNG Defence Force assured him they would conduct a full investigation into the shooting.

The victim has been brought back home to Jayapura after they obtained medical treatment in a Jayapura public hospital. The victim’s family has called on the PNG government and PNGDF for answers.

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