Everyone stay calm, exercise self-restraint, and avoid all forms of provocation and slander that we have observed on social media, so many issues being disseminated
Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has appealed to people in Papua to exercise self-restraint and not be swayed by hoax and slander.

"Everyone stay calm, exercise self-restraint, and avoid all forms of provocation and slander that we have observed on social media, so many issues being disseminated," the president stated during a press conference at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on Monday.

He drew attention to the people, mostly non-native Papuans, who had fled Wamena for Jayapura.

The president, however, urged the people to not leave Wamena since security officers are presently on guard to offer public protection.

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The head of state remarked that the tribal chief in Baliem Valley had also urged the people to not leave Wamena. Security officers also always protect all people, he added.

The president stated that armed criminal group members were behind the riot in Wamena.

"Do not shift it as though it were an ethnic conflict. It was not. They are armed criminal groups coming from mountains and setting ablaze the residents' houses," Jokowi emphasized.

The head of state admitted to having issued orders to Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian, and Commander of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto to arrest the perpetrators of the Wamena riot.

The president condoled the deaths of 33 people during the riots.

In the meantime, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe had earlier made assurance of the government, Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), and Indonesian Police (Polri) ensuring safety of both native Papuans and non-natives in Papua Province.

On Sept 23, 2019, some 33 people, including a medical doctor, children, and women, were killed, while no less than 77 others got injured in the riot that had also compelled several thousand residents, mostly non-native Papuans, to take refuge in the local military and police compounds.

Most of the dead and wounded were non-native Papuans, who had been assaulted by rioters brandishing machetes and arrows. Several victims migrated to Papua from their hometowns in provinces, such as West Sumatra and South Sulawesi, to earn a living.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo revealed that the masterminds behind this deadly riot are allegedly members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) separatist group.

On December 2, last year, separatists had killed 31 construction workers, all non-native Papuans, in Nduga District, Papua Province, while they were building a bridge in Yigi Sub-district.

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Translator: Bayu Prasetyo, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2019