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Jakarta Post

Communal conflict in Wamena kills four

  • Nethy Dharma Somba and Yuliasri Perdani

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura/Jakarta   /   Fri, May 31, 2013   /  11:45 am

A communal conflict between residents in Wamena, the seat of Jayawijaya regency in Papua, has resulted in the deaths of four people, with 25 others being injured on Thursday.

The clash was ignited by the death of Eka Tabuni, a member of the Nduga Regency Legislative Council from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Tabuni was allegedly killed on Jl. Raya Sentani in Jayapura on Wednesday at about 3 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Jakarta time) by three men.

The alleged perpetrators are currently being detained at the Jayapura Police headquarters in Sentani.

The clashing groups in Wamena were the supporters and detractors of a plan to divide Nduga'€™s eight districts into 24 additional districts for a total of 32 districts.

Nduga itself was separated from Jayawijaya regency in 2008.

'€œThree supporters and a detractor of the planned division died in the Wamena clash,'€ Papua Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said during a meeting with Tabuni'€™s relatives at the Papua Police headquarters on Thursday.

A relative, Samuel Tabuni, requested that the police investigate Eka'€™s death and bring the perpetrators to justice, otherwise the killings would continue.

Nduga councilor Paulus Ubruangge said the conflict stemmed from the regency administration'€™s plan to divide the districts.

The council rejected the plan because it was allegedly based on fictitious data.

'€œIn addition to adding the districts, the number of villages will also be increased from 32 to 211 but again based on fictitious data,'€ Ubruangge said.

Before the death of Tabuni, who rejected the planned division, the Nduga administration'€™s head of general affairs bureau, Yulius Gwijangge, was stabbed to death at the Rannu Hotel in Wamena on March 23.

The stabbing occurred during a meeting between both the regency administration and the council, presided over by Regent Yairus Gwijangge to discuss the administration'€™s planned division of the districts.

The police said so far there had been seven deaths from the conflict, two in the detractors camp and five supporters of the district division.

Waterpauw said he would go to Wamena with reinforcements of two platoons of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers.

In Jakarta, National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said the clash started at 7:45 a.m. and lasted for two hours.

He revealed the identities of the three alleged perpetrators of Tabuni'€™s death as Letia Gwijangge, 36, Ijanus Wandikbo, 19, and Nanggaluk Ara, 25. They attacked Tabuni to avenge the slaying of their relative, the Nduga official, identified as Yustinus, he added.

'€œThey believed that Eka murdered Yustinus,'€ he said.

 Only a few hours after the councilor'€™s murder, the two groups, arming themselves with bows and arrows, engaged in a battle. Two people sustained arrow injuries. Police managed to disperse the groups but a bigger clash occurred the next morning.

This is not the first time a planned division of a region has ignited violence, with similar clashes taking place in Medan, North Sumatra in 2009 and in Musi Rawas in South Sumatra earlier this year.

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