No stoppage in Papua development despite violence: Presidential spokesman

No stoppage in Papua development despite violence: Presidential spokesman

Trans-Papua road construction project. (Photo: Special)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Chief of the Presidential Staff Moeldoko said development of Papua would continue as scheduled despite the recent murder of 31 construction workers there by armed men believed to be separatists.

"Development must continue as scheduled. The government of Jokowi (President Joko Widodo), which wants equal distribution of development would not consider postponement. Regardless of everything, the government is determined to go ahead as it is for the interest of the Papuan people," Moeldoko said at the presidential office here on Wednesday.

Moeldoko described as barbaric the murder of the 31 construction workers building bridges spanning the Yigi and Aurak rivers in the Yall district.

The government develops Papua to improve the welfare of the Papuan people, he said.

"The workers were building a 278 kilometer highway with the two bridges between Wamena and Agats in the backward and isolated area of Nduga. The road is expected to end the isolation of that area facilitating transport and communications," he said.

More security officers would be dispatched to that area to guarantee the security of the workers, the former Indonesian military chief said.

Jayawijaya police chief Adj.Sr.Com Yan Peter Reba said the group of rebel killed 24 workers first and 7 others who sought to hide in the house of a local lawmaker were killed later.

A Papua Military spokesman Lt.Col. Dax Sianturi said the incident on Dec 2, involved an armed criminal group under Egianus Kogoyaa. The group with around 40 members had been known to be involved in similar violence.

Defense Minister Ryamirzard Ryacudu said the murderers were not ordinary criminals but they are rebels or separatists of the Free Papua Organization (OPM).

Moeldoko called on human rightists to be fair in their criticism of the military actions in seeking to maintain security in Papua.

"The 31 civilians with their limited capacity wanted to contribute to improving the welfare of Papua but they become victims of barbarism," he said.

The group also attacked a military post at Mbua, in the district of Nduga killing a soldier and injuring another soldier.


Reporting by Bayu Prasetyo
Editing by Fardah Assegaf

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