Ten Acehnese survivors of Wamena riot take refuge

Ten Acehnese survivors of Wamena riot take refuge

Afrizal Abdul Rasyid, a representative of the Acehnese community in Papua Province. (personal documentation)

Several survivors taking refuge in Sentani are workers residing in Wamena
Meulaboh, Aceh (ANTARA) - Ten Acehnese community members who survived the recent Wamena rioting have been taking refuge at a house in Doyo area of Sentani, Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, since early October. Among the displaced Acehnese currently taking refuge in Sentani are housewives, kids, and adult men, a representative of the Acehnese community in Papua Province, Afrizal Abdul Rasyid, told ANTARA.

They left Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, following the riot that broke out on September 23. The incident killed 33 innocent civilians, including a senior medical doctor who had served the people of Papua for 15 years, and wounded over 70 others.

"Several survivors taking refuge in Sentani are workers residing in Wamena," he said, adding that the displaced people who are originally from the districts of North Aceh, Bireuen, and South Aceh District are all in good health.

Several other Acehnese people remain in Wamena thanks to the current security condition which has gradually been restored, Rasyid said.

In enabling the Acehnese community members in Papua to get in touch with one another, Rasyid said there has been an endeavor to register them. So far, the Acehnese people have no organisation that may help them get connected.

The Wamena rioting has left so many Indonesians in misery. The incident did not merely claim 33 lives of innocent civilians but it had also forced several thousand survivors to take refuge by leaving their torched and destroyed properties behind.

In the aftermath of the incident, many survivors of this Wamena rioting, originally from such provinces as West Sumatra, South Sulawesi, East Java, and Banten, have even returned to their hometowns.

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The rioting in Wamena was incited by the proliferation of hoaxes through social media platforms that fueled ire among its residents, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja claimed.

Several local media reports confirmed Rodja's claim that the Wamena riot was spurred by hoaxes about a teacher's racist slur against native Papuan students.

Considering the casualties, the Wamena riot has become the deadliest of a wave of violence that erupted in several parts of Papua and West Papua over the past two months following the Surabaya incident on August 16 that triggered resentment and fury among native Papuans.

The Indonesian police blamed Benny Wenda, a campaigner of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) who enjoys a good life in the United Kingdom, for the spate of violence that broke out in these two Indonesian provinces, including the latest deadly rioting in Wamena.

In response to this miserable condition, several district and provincial administrations whose people directly got affected by the Wamena rioting had facilitated their evacuation from Papua.

The Banten provincial administration has brought 23 Wamena riot survivors originally from Banten home.

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