Telaumbanua, a journalist with the daily Berita Sore, was reported missing on the island of Nias off the northwestern coast of Sumatra on August 22.
Telaumbanua left his home in the northern town of Gunungsitoli on August 17 for a reporting trip, promising to return home after several days, according to his wife. An editor for Berita Sore told local reporters that Telaumbanua may have disappeared while reporting on a murder in the island’s southern Teluk Daram district. Telaumbanua, 51, had also recently reported on criminal gangs, local corruption, and irregularities in recent local elections, sources told CPJ.
Ukuran Maruhawa, a journalist traveling home with Telaumbanua, said that the two were ambushed on August 22 by a group of six men riding three motorcycles who forcibly took Telaumbanua away, The Jakarta Post reported. Local journalists told CPJ that they fear Telaumbanua is dead. Citing unnamed witnesses, Berita Sore reported that the journalist was beaten and killed by gangsters on August 24.
Journalists and family members have protested to police and lawmakers, urging them to find those responsible for his disappearance. Hundreds of journalists gathered in Medan in northern Sumatra on September 15 to protest the ongoing delays in the investigation.