An Indonesian Bible translator was tortured and killed by the Indonesian military in an extra-judicial killing for being in the vicinity of a separatist group, The Christian Post reports.
Yeremia Zanambani, the pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle Church of Indonesia, was found dead by his wife in a pigpen with gunshot wounds and his left arm completely severed. Indonesia’s human rights commission, Komnas HAM, said a fact-finding team uncovered his torture by the Indonesian government military.
Previously, it was believed he was simply imprisoned by the military during a skirmish between the separatist forces and the Indonesian military. "[The findings] are based on the dying man’s account given to at least two witnesses before he died that he saw the soldier at the crime scene along with three or four other soldiers,” Mohammad Choirul Anam, a Komnas HAM commissioner, told UCA News. A report of Komnas HAM’s findings will be handed off to the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, and Security Minister Mahfud MD.
Another pastor, Reverend Jacklevyn Frits Manuputty, who is the general secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, stated "We must continue to push the government to resolve this case as it can pave the way for other investigations into unresolved cases in the region. It is a chance for the government to regain the Papuan people’s trust."
But Military spokesman Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa was not as convinced. Even though Suriastawa expressed there would be punishment, he emphasized that there would only be a punishment "if he is found guilty." It is likely that "he" refers to the soldier who reportedly shot Zanambani.
There were no statements about the other soldiers involved and whether anything will happen to them. "There is no solid evidence yet. Right now, the fact-finding team is going deep into the case. It is better if we just wait for the real result,” he reportedly said to Kompas.com.
The 67-year-old pastor was working on a Bible translation in the Papua's Moni dialect so more Indonesians could read the bible in their own language. The Indonesian Government is reportedly launching an investigation into the incident.
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.