Ruten Wakerkwa

Date of BirthUnknown
Date of Arrest01/08/2014
Case DetailsWakerkwa was arrested when fighting broke out between security forces and an armed group in Pirime district, Lanny Jaya. He was charged with conspiracy to commit treason.
SentenceUnder investigation
Concerns Arbitrary detention, Ill treatment on arrest
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On 1 August 2014, Pastor Ruten Wakerkwa of the Baptist Church of Jerusalem in Tekun village in Pirime district, Lanny Jaya, was arrested during fighting between security forces and an armed group led by resistance leader Enden Wanimbo. His arrest followed several days of fighting between the two sides.

On 28 July 2014, fighting broke out between security forces and the armed group reportedly due to an arms transaction deal that had turned sour. The presence of an unwanted police brigade who were not involved in the deal had sparked mistrust, which led to shooting between the two sides. During the unrest, the armed group reportedly seized four weapons and thousands of bullets before escaping. The following day, military and police forces allegedly burned down traditional honai houses in Yugumeya and Wenam villages in Pirime in retribution. On 30 and 31 July, the burning of honai houses reportedly continued in Indawa village in Awinayu district and Ekanom village in Pirime district. Abednego Wakerkwa, a 10-year-old boy, was reportedly found dead in a burned down honai.

Pastor Wakerkwa was detained in Lanny Jaya Regional police station. He was reportedly arrested when police found a photo of the Morning Star flag on his phone. Early reports indicate that he is likely to have faced torture in detention. As at October 2014, Papuans Behind Bars has been unable to ascertain the fate of Pastor Wakerkwa.

Information received from local human rights sources indicate that Pastor Wakerkwa has since been released from detention.


Report from the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua, “Press Realisse: Tentang Peristiwa Kekerasan Pada 28 Juli 2014 di distrik Indawa Kabupaten Lani Jaya, Papua,” 21 August 2014

Last updated 30 October 2014