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Election office burned down in West Papua

  • Nethy Dharma Somba

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura, Papua | Fri, March 25, 2016 | 09:00 pm
Election office burned down in West Papua

Center stage: A photojournalist takes pictures in front of a screen showing an election-related violence index compiled by the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) ahead of the simultaneous local elections on Dec. 9, 2015. (thejakartapost.com/DON)

The Kaimana Election Supervisory Committee (Panwas) office in West Papua was severely damaged by a fire of unknown origins on Thursday, coincidentally while the newly elected Kaimana regent and deputy regent, Mathias Mairuma and Ismail Sirfefa, were being inaugurated in Manokwari, the province'€™s capital.

Panwas Kaimana member Dominiq Amdu told thejakartapost.com that the fire had burned the front part of the Panwas building and its guest room.

'€œNot all parts of the building were burned down. It'€™s only the front part of the building and the guest room that was damaged in the fire,'€ Dominiq said on Friday.

'€œThe cause of the fire is not yet known. It is unlikely that the fire was caused by a short circuit because the office'€™s electricity, supplied by a prepaid token system, had run out last Saturday,'€ said Dominiq. He said the Panwas had reported the incident to the Kaimana Police.

The Panwas Kaimana had rented and used the building since 2014. Dominiq said that since September 2015, the Panwas office had often been visited by demonstrators who protested its decision to recognize the candidate pair Mathias and Ismail as the legitimate Kaimana regent and deputy regent.

'€œThe Kaimana General Elections Commission [KPUD] declared that Pak Mathias Mairuma and his running mate had failed to pass the screening process to become candidates in the 2015 Kaimana regent and deputy regent election. After conducting an investigation, the Panwas concluded there was no reason not to accept him and his running mate as Kaimana regent and deputy regent candidates,'€ said Dominiq.

The fire reportedly did not damage important election documents because following an increase in the number of protest rallies staged at the Panwas office, all important documents had been moved to more secure places.

'€œIt is hoped that the police can find the perpetrators responsible for the attack,'€ said Dominiq, implying that arson was the cause of the fire.

Mairuma-Sirfefa was one of three candidate pairs, including Fredy Thie with Mohammad Lakutani and Hasan Achmad with Amos Oruw, who passed the screening tests to participate in the 2015 elections in the regency. (ebf)