Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Eligible Papuans will vote in a simultaneous regional election in 11 districts in 2020, as violence and ongoing security threats of notorious armed Papuan rebels continue to pose a challenge to this Indonesian province.

This future fiesta of democracy was launched at a ceremony by Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, General Elections Commission (KPU) Chairman Arief Budiman, and the KPU chairpersons and officials from 11 districts in Jayapura on Tuesday.

Waropen, Supiori, Merauke, Yalimo, Boven Digul, Asmat, Mamberamo Raya, Nabire, Keerom, Pegunungan Bintang, and Yahukimo are the districts to participate in this simultaneous regional election.

During the ceremony, the KPU chairpersons and officials from those 11 districts pledged to ensure the successful convening of this 2020 regional election, while Papua Governor Lukas Enembe has requested the district governments to apportion funds for the KPU.

With the assigned funds, the KPU officials will be in a better position to carry out all processes of the regional election smoothly, he stated.

Over these past two months, a spate of violence broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the Surabaya incident and fake news that had triggered public ire among native Papuans, who in retaliation held demonstrations in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua to protest the alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya on August 16.

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On August 28, a circle of violence also broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

Protests were again held on August 29 by the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura, as they vented their ire over the alleged racist behavior against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

On September 23, a deadly riot had erupted in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, killing 33 civilians, including a senior medical doctor, who had served the native Papuans for 15 years.

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

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

In addition to this spate of violence, the armed Papuan separatist groups continue to pose a real threat to civilians and security personnel.

On Sept 26, for instance, two motorcycle taxi (Ojek) drivers were gunned down by the notorious armed rebels near the Muara suspension bridge in Amnunggi Village, Ilaga Sub-district, Puncak District, Papua.
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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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