Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - A government official confirmed that some 1,950 native Papuan students from Yahukimo are studying at universities outside Papua and West Papua, though 600 of them returned home after recent racist acts in Surabaya, East Java.

He recalled several returnees pouring their hearts out to him on their reluctance to return to their universities since they felt intimidated in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had incited public ire among native Papuans, Yahukimo District Head Abock Busup stated.

Conversing with journalists in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, on Tuesday (Sept 17), he affirmed that some 120 other students from Yahukimo District are currently in Jakarta.

The students returning home were planning on holding a meeting to reach a common consensus on the subsequent plan of action, he noted.

Furthermore, they will meet with Papua Governor Lukas Enembe to tender a clarification on the reason behind their marked absence during his recent visit to Surabaya over the incident concerning racist slurring, Busup stated.

In the meantime, Secretary of the Papua Customary Council Leonard Imbiri urged President Joko Widodo to open all channels of communication with the returnees' parents. A similar effort by the regional governments was also deemed necessary to ensure that the students' studies were not hindered in anyway.

The Council also called on the Papua governor and district heads to ensure the security and comfort of those keen on getting back to their universities.

He admitted to being aware of another incident to intimidate native Papuan students in which a snake was intentionally introduced into the student dormitory compound in the aftermath of the case of racist slurs against Papuan students in Surabaya on August 16.

An exodus of native Papuan students, currently studying at various reputable universities outside Papua and West Papua, has posed a challenge to both the regional governments in Papua and West Papua and the central government and necessitates a joint resolution.

Related news: Nearly 700 native Papuan students return home

Some 700 native Papuan students recently returned home despite assurance given by every provincial police chief on the safety and security of all indigenous Papuan students currently studying outside their hometowns.

In response to the exodus of some 700 native Papuan students, the central government has encouraged them to return to the cities or towns where they are studying.

The Indonesian military commander has also placed on standby two Hercules C-130 aircraft to transport the returnees from Papua and West Papua to the provinces where they are studying.

With the exodus having come to an end, the government is keen on sending back the students to their universities, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto stated.

Educating the indigenous Papuan students at various prestigious universities outside their homeland is deemed significant since they will receive good-quality higher education and forge bonds with their peers hailing from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds. Related news: Biak Numfor's students urged not to join exodus: district govt

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Translator: Alfian R, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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