The threats have become minor now, but we are trying to focus on the issues related to armed criminals. They assault people. This is that we must take optimal precautionary measures against.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian police will channel its efforts into handling armed criminals targeting civilians after potential protests and anarchic acts in Papua Province could have significantly been curtailed, a police spokesman stated.

"The threats have become minor now, but we are striving to focus on the issues concerning armed criminals. They assault people. This is what we must take optimal precautionary measures against," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo stated.

In conversation with journalists on the sidelines of the Setara Institute's discussion forum in Jakarta on Thursday, he affirmed that security measures against the armed criminals were directed at maintaining law and order in the easternmost province.

In spite of Papua's current situation being conducive, some three thousand police personnel remain stationed in the province until December 2019. Several thousand policemen are also assigned to secure West Papua Province.

The police personnel will not be recalled over the strong likelihood of certain parties looking to create security disturbances in the provinces until the end of this year.

The recent violent protests that erupted in several cities in Papua and West Papua to oppose the alleged racist slurs against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16 might have also been related to the High Commissioner for Human Rights' meeting on Sept 9. By having so, the Papua riots could be incorporated into this commissioner’s report.

At the UN General Assembly in New York scheduled on Sept 23-26, representatives of all member nations will deliver the views and standpoints, he stated.

"To this end, we optimally mitigate to ensure that Papua's condition is really conducive," he emphasized.

Related news: Police clear air on no further protest, counter-demonstration in Papua
Related news: Anarchic group in Papua linked to international organizations: Police

Papua and West Papua have drawn the attention of the Indonesian and international mainstream media after a spate of violent protests erupted there in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

Following the Surabaya incident, native Papuans in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua staged protests, several of which turned violent.

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

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

On August 28, violence had also erupted in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, claiming the lives of an army soldier and two civilians.

Nine days before the Deiyai rioting occurred, on August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, had earlier launched protests to voice their discontent over alleged racist action against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.

During the rally in Manokwari, a local parliamentary building was set on fire. The demonstrators also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets.

As a reaction to the Surabaya incident, on August 22, leaders of several ethnic community-based organizations held a meeting in Biak Numfor District. They deplored the incident that had triggered public ire, expressing their complete rejection of all forms of racism and intolerance against indigenous Papuans.

Related news: Police chase down 12 persons wanted in West Papua unrest
Related news: Unidentified group kills five gold miners in Yahukimo

Translator: Dyah DA, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2019