Police identify group spreading rumors in Timika

Police identify group spreading rumors in Timika

Military personnel guarded the Mimika parliament building in August, after riots broke out in Papua on August 21, 2019. ANTARA PHOTO/Sevianto Pakiding/wsj/sh.

Timika, Papua (ANTARA) - The Mimika Police in Papua has identified the group allegedly spreading rumors to create unrest in Timika, Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agung Marlianto said here Wednesday. The group comprising some 30 to 40 members had attempted to create tension and anxiety among the people by systematically spreading fake news, Marlianto said.

"Based on information from witnesses, they claimed to be students. They are relatively young," he added.

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Marlianto has called on Timika residents to be fully aware of the group's nefarious attempts.

The group has spread rumors about security personnel distributing poisoned food to Papuans in Timika, according to Marlianto.

It also intimidated some Papuans school students in Limau Asri Village and Kwamki Narama District with messages on their mobile phones.

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The group provoked students to set fire to some buildings in Timika including vital and strategic installations, shops, and kiosks, he said.

The Mimika Police has positioned its personnel in some schools, especially those with majority Papuans students in anticipation of any unwanted incidents.

"We have also deployed Community and Society Development Unit (Binmas) personnel to counsel students from being provoked by the irresponsible group," he said.

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Nearly 23 people died and a dozen others sustained injuries when a violent rally erupted in Wamena, Jayawijaya District’s capital city, Papua on Monday, September 23.

The violence might have been fueled by rumors spread through social media platforms that angered residents, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja said while speaking in connection with the rioting.

The riot was instigated by rumors about a teacher's racist slur against native Papuan students, according to several local media reports. (INE)

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