Gunmen fire on plane, kill Indonesian journalist

New York, April 10, 2012–Gunmen opened fire on a small plane landing at an airport in Mulia, a town in Indonesia’s restive Papua region, on Sunday, killing a journalist and injuring four others, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Indonesian authorities to launch an immediate investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

Leiron Kogoya, 35, a reporter for local newspapers Papua Pos Nabire and Pasifik Pos Dail, was on his way to Mulia to cover local elections when the gunmen shot at the plane with automatic weapons, according to news reports. Authorities said two pilots, a female passenger, and a 4-year-old boy were wounded during the shooting. Initial news reports quoted authorities as saying that they had yet to establish motive for the attack.

“We are saddened by the death of Leiron Kogoya and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Police must work quickly and thoroughly to ensure an immediate investigation into this attack and determine a motive.”

On Monday, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha called Leiron’s death “totally unacceptable” and told journalists it “must be solved quickly. Those responsible should be brought to justice.” The English-language daily Jakarta Globe reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had demanded quick justice in the murder. Police investigating Leiron’s murder had made no arrests by Tuesday, news reports said.

Nine journalists have died in Indonesia since 1996, with five of them in the past six years, CPJ research shows. Almost all the cases remain unsolved, and 33 percent of the journalists were local reporters like Leiron, covering political stories.