The suspension was put in place at 10:30 a.m. local time after three cargo aircraft were allowed to take off
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Wamena Airport authority grounded flight operations temporarily on Monday over a riot that broke out in this Jayawijaya District's capital city.

"The suspension was put in place at 10:30 a.m. local time after three cargo aircraft were allowed to take off," Head of Wamena Airport Joko Harjani stated. In conversation with ANTARA here on Monday, Harjani noted that the airport authority serves 120 daily flights from and to Wamena, though today's riot that had ended with the rampant scorching of buildings and kiosks in the city led to the suspension of the airport's flight operations.

Harjani claimed to be unaware of when the suspension would be in place, but the airport authority would recommence flight operations if the Indonesian military or police were to request it to do so.

"Currently, there is no aircraft at the airport area," Harjani stated, adding that Wamena Airport is a main gate for several towns and villages in the alpine terrain of the Pegunungan Tengah area.

Related news: Papua Police Chief confirms hoax fueled mass protest in Wamena

In the meantime, Head of Sentani Airport Anthonius Praptono noted that flight operations were suspended at Wamena Airport over security concerns.

The Sentani airport authority serves 20 flights to and from Wamena Airport, he stated.

Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja believes that the new rioting might have been fueled by the proliferation of hoaxes through social media platforms that incited public ire among Wamena's residents.

"We are on the lookout for those creating and spreading the fake news," he stated.

The riot that erupted in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, on Monday resulted in several properties, including people's houses, the Jayawijaya district office, and motorcycles being burnt.

"I have just received information on several motorcycles in Wamena being set alight," he revealed.

Several local media reports stated that the Wamena riot was instigated by hoaxes pertaining to a teacher's racist slur against native Papuan students.

In August, a wave of violence also broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

Native Papuans in various parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua held demonstrations to protest alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya on August 16.

Related news: KMSP confirms two deaths, 27 wounded in recent Papua protests

On August 29, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura had again staged protests, venting their fury over the alleged racist slurs 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 erupted in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

Related news: Police launch manhunt for hoax suspect

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019