Maluku police chief, Papuan students dine over food for thought

Maluku police chief, Papuan students dine over food for thought

Maluku Police Chief Inspector General Royke Lumowa held a photo session on Sept 10, 2019, after dining with some hundred native Papuan students currently studying in Ambon, Maluku Province. (ANTARA/Daniel Leonard/rn).

Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA) - Maluku Police Chief Inspector General Royke Lumowa held a function at his residential house on Tuesday evening by inviting some hundred students native to Papua and West Papua and presently studying at Maluku’s several universities.

On the occasion, he dined with the students, who were encouraged to channel their efforts to ensure timely completion of their studies and made assurance that the police and military institutions are guaranteeing their safety and security.

"Please continue to focus on your studies. Ambon is absolutely secure and safe and free from all forms of intimidation. All need not get suspicious of one another," he told journalists here on Wednesday.

The police, military, and government agencies are ascertaining the safety of the residents of Ambon and all parts of Maluku, including Papuan students, Royke Lumowa, who had been assigned in Papua Province, stated.

Speaking in connection with the authorities' pledge to offer a security guarantee, Chairman of the Papuan and West Papuan Student Association Erwin Abisay admitted to feeling a sense of security and safety during his stay in Ambon in the aftermath of the Surabaya and Malang incidents.

"We thank the Maluku police chief and his men for inviting us to join the gathering and for safeguarding us," Abisay stated.

Abisay remarked that Ambon is expected to stay safe and conducive.

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An exodus of native Papuan students came under the spotlight of Indonesia's media and authorities after some 700 of them currently studying at various universities outside Papua Province recently returned home.

Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf Rodja strongly regretted the decisions of the returnees, saying that the national police chief had ordered all regional police chiefs to guarantee the safety of the students to assist them in directing their undivided attention on completing their studies.

A circle of 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 rallied in protest of alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

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

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, vandalizing and 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, a circle of 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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