IFJ Has Grave Fears for Indonesian Reporter’s safety

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has grave fears for missing Berita Sore reporter, Elyuddin Telaumbanua, after reports that he was seen being beaten to death.

Telaumbanua, or Ely as he was known, was initially reported missing on August 22 after he failed to make contact with his editors while on assignment in the district of Teluk Dalam, in Southern Nias.

On August 24, Ely and a colleague, Urukan Maruhawa, stopped between the villages of Hilinanenika and Hilisatara to pay respects at a close friend’s, Bajo, funeral on their way to Teluk Dalam.

But recent information received by IFJ affiliate Aliansi Jurnalis Indpenden (AJI) suggest that Ely’s abduction was linked to a series of reports he published on electoral corruption in Southern Nias, sparking concern that government authorities may be involved in his disappearance.

According to Maruhawa, six men chased him and Ely on motorcycles and after catching him Ely was beaten and dragged away.

Witnesses identified one of the attackers as Samagaho, the head of the Bawogamowo village, and another as the brother of Ely’s friend Bajo whose funeral he attended.

The IFJ has received reports that Ely was taken to Bajo’s hose, beaten to death and afterwards thrown into the ocean off the Nias Genesi coast when the body floated back to shore it was reportedly burned and covered over with concrete.

Police have not yet confirmed these reports and, although they have identified suspects, no witnesses are willing to testify.

“While we continue to hope for the safe return of Ely, these reports lead us to consider the worst,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.

“The IFJ calls on the Indonesian police to pursue these reports and ensure that those responsible for Ely’s disappearance are brought to justice,” said Warren.

For more information on the disappearance of Elyuddin Telaumanua visit http://www.ifj-asia.org/page/indonesia051024.html

For more information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries