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Nephews of martyred Papuan pastor allegedly killed by the military

Last week, military investigators in Indonesia revealed that Indonesian soldiers in Papua province killed two brothers in their custody. The men were accused of being separatist rebels. Last April, their bodies were burned and their ashes dumped into a river to dispose of the evidence. The brothers were the nephews of a sixty-seven-year-old Papuan pastor, who was brutally murdered by a military man last September, after asking too much about his lost nephews.


On the 23rd of December, 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 the 21st of April. 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 brothers until Apinus lost his life. Luther, who was about to be transferred to another post, died from critical injuries. To cover up their acts, TNI members then burned the bodies of Apinus and Luther before emptying the ashes into the Julai River in Hitadipa.

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