Two Surabaya TNI officers questioned for racist slurs

Two Surabaya TNI officers questioned for racist slurs

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto (second from left) (ANTARA News Papua/Muhsidin)

Biak, Papua (ANTARA) - Two Indonesian Military (TNI) officers were questioned for their alleged racist slurs against students in Surabaya, East Java, that triggered anger in Papua and West Papua Provinces, TNI Commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto said. The officers being investigated are Major NHI, commander of the Surabaya 0831/02 Regional Military Command, and a village supervisory non-commissioned officer (Babinsa), he told journalists here Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference after holding a dialog with several representatives of the Papuan customary communities in Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, Tjahjanto said whatever mistakes the army personnel had committed on duty would consequently be sanctioned.

He was visiting Biak merely to meet with the representatives of the communities to enable him to get insightful information and absorb their aspirations.

Hadi Tjahjanto was accompanied by National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian and several top military and police officers at the meeting also attended by Biak District Head Herry Ario Naap.

Among the top military and police officers also taking part in the dialog were Commandant General  of the Indonesian Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) Maj. Gen. I Nyoman Cantiasa, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja, and Chief of XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Maj. Gen. Yosua Pandit Sembiring.

On August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, vociferously protested the alleged racist action against the Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java on August 16.

A local parliamentary building in Manokwari was set ablaze during the demonstration. The rioters also lit tires in several parts of the city and main streets.

However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian affirmed that normalcy had been restored in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of excessive force.

Responding to the incidents, a group of Papuan students in Denpasar, Bali Province, held a peaceful demonstration on August 22.

In Medan, North Sumatra Province, several Papuan students at the University of Sumatera Utara (USU) also staged a peaceful protest.

In Lampung Province, the Association of Papuan Students (Ikmapal) urged President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to focus more on Papuans’ welfare and social justice and bring to book those who passed the racist slurs.

Related news: Military, police chiefs hold dialog with Papuan leaders in Biak Related news: East Java Police avers no Papuan students faced racism