All Papuans residing in West Sulawesi Province are safe
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Some 700 native Papuan students studying at various universities outside Papua Province have returned home in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident although they have received safety and security guarantees from all regional police chiefs.

The national police chief had ordered all regional police chiefs to guarantee the safety of the students to help them focus on completing their studies, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf Rodja said while deploring the returnees' decision. Speaking to journalists after meeting with rectors of the University of Cenderawasih (Uncen) and Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) here Monday, Rodja said a majority of the returnees were previously studying in Manado, North Sulawesi Province.

He deplored their decisions to return home before completing their studies because it would affect their future. Instead, the returnees should have prevented themselves from falling victim to the elites or certain vested interests.

After returning home, they would find it difficult to continue their studies at local universities. For their colleagues who are still focusing on their studies in various Indonesian cities, he suggested that they continue with their studies.

They need not fear their routine activities because their safety and security has been guaranteed by all regional police chiefs, he said.

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Meanwhile, West Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Baharuddin Djafar held a dialog with Papuan residents Monday.

All Papuan residents in West Sulawesi Province are safe following the recent violent protests in Papua and West Papua and their security is guaranteed, he affirmed.

"All Papuans residing in West Sulawesi Province are safe," West Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Baharuddin Djafar informed journalists after holding a dialog with residents of Mamuju.

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

In response to this, 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 are safe.

"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 said.

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

Violence erupted 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 the provinces of Papua and West Papua held demonstrations protesting alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, August 16.

On August 29, indigenous residents of Jayapura again staged protests, venting their anger over the alleged racist behavior against their compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, setting ablaze several government buildings. The office of ANTARA, Indonesia's national news agency, in the city was also intentionally damaged by the demonstrators.

On August 28, violence also broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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