The Jakarta Post
The Papua Police have announced the arrest of five civilians in Manokwari, West Papua for allegedly trading in firearms.
'During the arrest we seized several hand guns, 180 rounds of ammunition and Rp 21 million [US$1,734] in cash which was their profit from selling the firearms and ammunition,' Papua Deputy Police chief Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw told The Jakarta Post in Jayapura on Tuesday.
The suspects were identified as Saiful Duia, Stenly Saimau, Amirullah, Leonard Takari and Herry Lawalata.
The arrests took place on Saturday at Manokwari port, after two of the suspects, Herry and Leonard, disembarked from a vessel that came from Maluku, while carrying two short arms and two long-barreled firearms as well as the 180 rounds of ammunition.
Both suspects met with Saiful Duia at the port. Meanwhile, Amirullah and Stenly Saimau were caught as they allegedly tried to purchase the weapons from the three suspects.
The police are continuing to investigate the case and are hunting the masterminds and other customers.
All five suspects were charged under Article 55 of the 1951 Emergency Law on Firearms Usage and could face a minimum of 20 years in prison or a maximum of life imprisonment.
Previously, Papua policehave made arrests relating to firearms and ammunition dealing, with the weapons originating from neighboring countries such as the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, West Papuan human-rights lawyer Yan Christian Warinussy urged the police to conclude investigations into the firearms-trading cases in West Papua in order to prevent the distribution of the materials in the region.
'There is a good chance that many firearms have already made their way to the public. It is also possible that the sellers are engaged in active business,' Warinussy said. He added that if the police did not pursue and conclude such cases, the security of the West Papuan region would be at stake.
'People can be volatile enough to use their weapons if they are the slightest bit offended,' he added.
Warinussy also said that a gun involved in a civilian shooting case in Manokwari two months ago, which resulted from a minor confrontation, could have been bought from a black market arms dealer. (dyl)
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