News

April 11, 2012 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Journalist killed as gunmen attack plane at Papua province airport


Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to the family and friends of
Leiron Kogoya, a journalist with the newspapers Pasific Post and Papua Pos Nabire, part of the Pacific Post group, who was killed in an attack by gunmen on a plane at Mulia airport in the province of Papua three days ago.

“Although the journalist did not appear to be the target of the attack, it illustrates
the insecurity that prevails in the region, where at least two other journalists were
killed late last year,” the press freedom organization said.

“Covering the Papua region is highly risky for journalists. Leiron Kogoya was
among those courageous reporters who strive to keep the world informed about
the region, which has been the scene of violent clashes. Our thoughts go out to
his family and friends."

“We expect the authorities to shed light on the attack. Contradictory information
about the identity of those behind the shooting said to have been provided by
security forces to journalists indicates that an independent investigation must be
carried out as soon as possible.”

The plane, a Twin Otter of the Indonesian airline Trigana Air, landed at Mulia
at about 8 am when at least five gunmen opened fire. The pilot and co-pilot,
who were both hit, lost control of the aircraft, which then crashed into one of the
terminal buildings. Four people were wounded. Kogoya, was fatally shot in the
neck.

The 35-year-old reporter was flying to Mulia in the Puncak Jaya district to cover
local elections in the provincial capital, Jayapura.

Photo by: Agus Fakaubun

The news website westpapuamedia.info quoted the head of public relations for the Papua police, Commander Yohanes Nugroho Wicaksono, as saying the gunmen were hiding in the hills 50 metres from the airport. It said police had not yet been able to identify the perpetrators or the type of guns they used.

According to military intelligence, the separatist group Free Papua Movement
(Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM, in Indonesian) was behind the attack,
while local police said they had no information about the identity of the attackers.

Indonesia is ranked 146th of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 world press freedom
index
compiled by Reporters Without Borders.