Tjahjanto pledges to enable riot survivors' smooth return to Wamena

Tjahjanto pledges to enable riot survivors' smooth return to Wamena

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto (left) along with National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian (right) and several ministers visited Papua on Oct 8, 2019 (ANTARA FOTO/Gusti Tanati/foc.)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto made a solemn promise to facilitate survivors of the recent Wamena rioting seeking refuge in Jayapura and several other Papua’s cities keen on returning to Wamena.

A press statement made available to ANTARA in Jakarta on Wednesday noted that the TNI commander had readied the Indonesian Air Force Hercules C-130 cargo aircraft for the transportation of people looking to return to Wamena, Jayawijaya District’s capital city.

On Wednesday morning, Tjahjanto, along with National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian and several cabinet members, including Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto, had paid a visit to a temporary shelter in Sentani.

Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek and Social Affairs Minister Agus Gumiwang were among the ministers joining Wiranto's entourage to meet the 152 Wamena riot survivors currently taking refuge at the Silas Papare Air Base Command Post in Sentani, Jayapura.

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Normalcy has gradually been restored in Wamena, but the refugees have appealed to the TNI and police personnel to continue to maintain security in the city that had borne witness to a deadly riot on Sept 23.

The Wamena rioting has caused misery to scores of Indonesians. The incident not only resulted in the killing of 33 innocent civilians but it also left several thousand survivors with no option but to take refuge by abandoning their burned and destroyed properties.

Several survivors, initially from provinces, including West Sumatra, South Sulawesi, East Java, and Banten, have also returned to their hometowns.

The rioting was fueled by the spread of hoaxes through social media platforms that infuriated its residents, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja stated.

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

Speaking in connection with the casualties, the Wamena riot has become the deadliest of the string 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 has placed the blame on Benny Wenda, a campaigner of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), who leads a comfortable life in the United Kingdom, for the spate of violence that erupted in these two Indonesian provinces, including the rioting in Wamena.

In response to this miserable condition, several district and provincial administrations facilitated the evacuation from Papua of their people, who had borne the direct impact of the Wamena rioting.

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

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