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Jakarta Post

Papuans ask police to withdraw from Nduga

  • Nethy Dharma Somba

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura   /   Fri, July 13, 2018   /   05:54 pm
Papuans ask police to withdraw from Nduga Ambulances carrying coffins arrive at Mozes Kilangin Airport in Timika, Papua, on June 25. An attack on civilians, which according to the National Police was perpetrated by unknown armed assailants, killed three people in Kenyam in Nduga. (Antara/Jeremias Rahadat)

A number of prominent people in Nduga, Papua, has ask the Papua Police to withdraw the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) from Alguru in Kenyam, Nduga regency, Papua, following a shootout between the police and unknown armed assailants.

On Friday, Samuel Tabuni, a prominent youth group member in Nduga, said he was waiting on Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar to fulfill his promise to withdraw Brimob. He added that the shootout had made villagers scared and many were fleeing to Kenyam, the regency’s downtown area.

Tabuni said he and priest Lipius Biniluk, the head of the Papuan Interfaith Forum (FKUB), visited Boy to deliver the request. “He promised to withdraw his troops from Alguru to Kenyam.

“The people don’t feel comfortable living in the kampung [village] with the sound of shooting. They have been very traumatized by the shootouts,” he added.

On Thursday, Nduga Deputy Regent Wentius Miniangge told Antara that the police and Indonesian Military (TNI) had launched an air strike on Wednesday without telling the local authorities about it.

“We did not give you permission and then you just fire from the air. Whose rules were you following? We did not invite you here,” Miniangge told Antara.

The troops suspect that Kampung Alguru is a hotbed for what they call an armed criminal group.

The Papua Police claimed that the helicopter had been dropping food in Nduga when unknown armed assailants shot at it.

The TNI and the police hunted for the armed assailants in Alguru after a Twin Otter aircraft carrying election material and Brimob personnel was fired on by unidentified assailants on June 25, two days before local elections.

Pilot Ahmad Abdillah Kamil, 27, was shot in the back.

The police claimed that the armed assailants also attacked civilians, killing three people and injuring a 6-year-old boy.

Tabuni said the police could not solve the conflict with the armed assailants, believed to have connections to groups demanding Papuan independence, with violence because it would only generate more deaths.  

He added that the government had given Papua special funds, but money would not solve the political conflict, which began in the 1960s. “If you don’t solve the problem at its roots, Papua will remain like this,” he said, adding that dialogue would be better.

“Today, Papuans feel uncomfortable living in this big house called the United State of the Republic of Indonesia [NKRI] because we have unfinished problems,” he added.

On Friday, Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. A.M. Kamal said the situation in Nduga was under control. “Residents have resumed their daily activities and many have begun to trade again.” (evi)