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Pastor Zanambani of GKI Church in West Papua murdered by Indonesian military

Pastor Zanambani’s body after the murder

Hitadipa is a district in Intan Jaya regency located to the West of Nduga regency and North-west of the giant Freeport Mine in Mimika regency.

Pastor Yeremias Zanambani is his full name; he was a senior Pastor of the GKI Church, Bible translator and Head Master of the local Seminary when he was killed.


Pastor Zanambani and his wife Miriam lives in the Hitadipa station while they have their piggery on the other side of the river about 300 meters walk. Before the incident, there was a military build-up in the area due to armed conflict between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB OPM) and the Indonesian military. The Indonesian military at the time was setting up a temporary base near their piggery while fighting with the TPNPB.

On the afternoon of 20th September 2020, Pastor Zanambani and his wife went to their piggery on the other side of the river as usual for feeding. On their way they met members of the Indonesian military who interrogated them accusing them of taking the food to feed the TPNPB members, they even followed them to their piggery and watched while they fed their pigs.

The Indonesian military left after that so Miriam told her husband that they should leave the area because it was getting late. However, Pastor told his wife to go home and prepare dinner for the family. He remained in the piggery to cook breakfast for the pigs. Miriam went home around 5: 00 pm and shortly after 30 minutes or so heard gun shots from the piggery. She alerted the Pastors that her husband and the old people at the piggery are in danger so they should visit them once, however, Pastors did not want to go out of fear. Miriam went back to the piggery around 6: 00 pm and saw her husband was shot on his side including breaking his arm. Pastor was alive at the time so he told her that the Indonesian military shot him. She returned home while two old people slept with him in the piggery. He passed away in the mid night on the 20th of September 2020. On the next day, the Indonesian military (TNI) allowed only five Pastors to collect his body and buried it without proper mourning as per Melanesian tradition. Melanesians were known for mourning longer days for the death of their ‘big man’, and this was one of those big man in the area but was forced to bury on the same day Sunday 21st of September 2020.

Hitadipa district in the Intan Jaya regency is currently experiencing one of the worse humanitarian crises after the murder of Pastor Yeremias Zanambani who was also the translator of Bible to local Moni dialect and Head Master of the local Theology school. He was shot by Indonesian military suspecting him of being a member of the West Papua National Liberation Army. After the shooting the Indonesian military only allowed five pastors to bury his body on the next day without proper funeral.

The villagers were ordered to leave their villages the next day emptying 6 churches, local community school and left for nearby villages or into the jungles. Some thousands of people currently displaced in Hitadipa, regency. The government is still not saying anything about the incident and is very slow to send independent investigation team into the area to verify the information coming out of the area.

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