Police interrogate 733 demonstrators after rally claims four lives

Police interrogate 733 demonstrators after rally claims four lives

Papua Police Spokesman Sen. Coms. Ahmad Kamal (ANTARA News Papua/Evarukdijati)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Investigators of the Papua police interrogated 733 demonstrators involved in a violent protest at Expo Waena in Jayapura, Papua’s capital city, Monday, resulting in the deaths of an Indonesian soldier and three civilians.

The police investigators grilled the demonstrators on Tuesday to ascertain their respective roles in the violent protest that had also resulted in grave injuries to six personnel of the Papua police's mobile brigade unit.

Papua Police spokesman, Sen. Coms. Ahmad Kamal, noted on Tuesday that those demonstrators were also questioned to extract the truth on whether they were all university students.

"The police investigation is expected to bring to light the real status of the demonstrators on whether they are all students," he noted.

The violent protest erupted at the Expo Waena area in Jayapura after several hundred students began rallying at the Cenderawasih University campus. The violent event took place on the same day as that of a riot in Wamena.

The Indonesian Police confirmed to be conducting a comprehensive examination of a likely link between a rally that native Papuan students had staged at the Cenderawasih University campus in Jayapura and the Wamena riot.

Related news: Indonesian military confirms 17 deaths in Wamena's rioting

"The two rallies are different, but police investigators are probing an indication of their linkage," National Police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo, stated.

As requested by the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) rector, the security personnel negotiated with the demonstrating students that had thronged the auditorium of the campus and disrupted the teaching and learning process at the public university, he stated.

Initiated by the students recently returning home after leaving their universities outside the provinces of Papua and West Papua, the demonstrators demanded they should be allowed to establish a command post within the Uncen campus.

The Papua police and rectorate at Uncen did not permit them to stage the demonstration. In its place, the police instructed the demonstrators to return to the Expo Waena area and deployed military trucks and public buses, escorted by security personnel, for this purpose.

However, several demonstrators, belonging to the Papua Student Alliance (AMP), attacked and killed one of the drivers of the trucks. The victim was identified as an Indonesian soldier named Private Zulkifli.

Related news: Police expose Benny Wenda's involvement in Wamena's lethal riot

Speaking in connection with the Wamena rioting, Papua Police Chief, Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja, opined that the violence might have been fueled by hoaxes being spread through social media platforms that fueled public ire among Wamena’s residents.

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

The riot that erupted in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, on Monday, caused 17 civilian deaths as well as resulted in several properties, including the people's houses, the Jayawijaya district office, and motorcycles being scorched.

Related news: Indonesian police examine link between violence in Wamena and Jayapura

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