Mamuju, W Sulawesi (ANTARA) - West Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Baharuddin Djafar affirmed that all Papuan residents of the province remain safe and secure while guaranteeing their safety following the recent violent protests in Papua and West Papua.

"All Papuans residing in West Sulawesi Province are safe," West Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Baharuddin Djafar informed journalists after holding a dialog with Papuan people living in Mamuju on Monday.

In fact, the situation was brought under control in the two easternmost provinces, though tensions later rode high after the locals got incited by fake news and groundless information disseminated in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident.

In response to this condition, the National Police have made all-out efforts to prevent the unrest from resurfacing, he stated, affirming that all Papuans residing in West Sulawesi Province remain safe and secure.

"We are all brothers and sisters without being restricted by racial, cultural, and ethnical backgrounds. Most importantly, we all have equal rights to have a sense of security," Djafar affirmed.

Papuans in West Sulawesi are expected to keep their relatives in the loop of their safety, he emphasized.

West Sulawesi provincial police spokesman, Adjunct Sen. Coms. Mashura, remarked that the current situation in Papua and West Papua remains conducive.

The Papuans partaking in the dialog expressed gratitude to Brig. Gen. Baharuddin Djafar and local governments for the respectable treatment given during their stay in West Sulawesi.

"During our stay in this province for studying, working, and trading, we have never been treated badly by the people of West Sulawesi. We lead a peaceful co-existence," he noted.

"We are all sons of the Motherland. Living akin to a rainbow with a diversity of colors is beautiful," a respected figure of the Papuan community members in West Sulawesi stated.

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Violence broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

Over the past weeks, native Papuans in several parts of Papua and West Papua as well as several other provinces of Indonesia rallied to protest alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

Due to the gravity of the Surabaya incident, National Mandate Party (PAN) patron, Amien Rais, has appealed to the central government to tackle pressing issues in Papua and West Papua.

The government must not undermine the problems in these two easternmost provinces, Rais remarked while conversing with journalists on the sidelines of a ceremony marking PAN's 21st anniversary on August 23.

Indonesia should take a cue from big nations, including the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, that had borne witness to their disintegration despite their economy, military, intelligence, and police being relatively powerful.

Hence, he suggested that the government seek solutions to the problems afflicting the two provinces.

Rais also expressed deep concern over the foreign interference in Papuan issues and urge the government to adopt a multi-dimensional approach in resolving them.

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Translator: M.Faisal H, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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