JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affair Wiranto sees a “certain party” was taking advantage of the situation to cause chaos in Papua and reap the benefit. But a retired general did not elaborate, just says what he means not Indonesians.
“Indeed there are certain parties that we want to mess up, we want to make a fuss, he has the advantage. We have seen and found out,” he said on late Friday (08/30) with a number of Papuan leaders in Jakarta.
“It’s not the people of Papua, not the people of West Papua, not the people of Indonesia who crave prosperity and benefits. Yes, certain people, I know, but I don’t need to mention it,” he adds.
Based on reports on Friday morning, the situation in Papua and West Papua provinces was calm, although there were plans for more protests, he said. The minister is urging calm in the easternmost region of Papua after two weeks of sometimes violent protests, saying demands from demonstrators for an investigation into racism had been met.
“Why must we kill each other because we’re offended? Let’s return to calm, return to peace, think about the future where there is no destruction and there is development,” said the minister.
The government has repeatedly called for calm in Papua, which has been racked by the most serious civil unrest in years, over perceived racial and ethnic discrimination. Some protesters are also demanding a referendum on independence, something Wiranto has ruled out.
More than 1,200 police officers have been flown in to reinforce a region that already has a heavy military presence, due to decades of separatist conflict.
On Wednesday, shooting broke out in the remote town of Deiyai, 500 kilometers from the Jayapura. Police said one soldier and two civilians were killed during the incident, while a separatist group said six people had been shot dead. The military dismissed that as a hoax.
The spark for the latest protests was a racist slur against Papuan students, who were hit by tear gas in their dormitory and detained in the city of Surabaya on the main island of Java on August 17, Indonesia’ Independence Day, for allegedly desecrating a national flag.
A legal process was underway for two military personnel involved in the Surabaya incident, and police had identified two people suspected of hate speech, who were in a crowd who mobbed the dormitory, Wiranto said. Speaking alongside the minister, Samuel Tabuni, a Papuan community leader, also urged calm, but called on the government to treat Papuans more fairly.
“Why was law enforcement not been conducted properly? Especially in Surabaya, the legal process started after we demonstrated, but racism has happened for a long time, fueling Papuans anger,” Tabuni stated.
Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who also set fire to cars and threw stones at shops and offices on Thursday, Antara said. Protesters also torched a local parliament office.
“Several public facilities and properties were damaged by rioters,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.
In the wake of Thursday’ unrest, Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda called for United Nation to act on the crisis, the result of related protests about racism, discrimination, and calls for independence.
“Indonesian security services may turn it into a bloodbath,” Wenda said, referring to the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in which hundreds of mourners at a funeral were shot by Indonesian forces.
During the riot in Jayapura, the protesters torched a building housing the offices of state-controlled telecoms firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia. The company said in a statement it could not assess the full damage yet.
The utility company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has turned off power in areas around the torched building said regional director Ahmad Rofik, and state energy firm PT Pertamina said it had shut several petrol stations in Jayapura because of the protest.
Papua and West Papua provinces, the resource-rich western part of the island of New Guinea, were a Dutch colony that was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticized UN-backed referendum in 1969.
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org