Wamena, Papua (ANTARA) - The authority of Ilaga Airport in Puncak District, Papua Province, has coordinated with related agencies to increase security measures ahead of the celebrations of this year's Christmas and 2020 New Year's Eve.

"This airport is the gate for visiting Ilaga, the capital of Puncak District," Head of the Ilaga Airport Herman Sujito told ANTARA after being contacted from Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, on Tuesday.

The airport serves passenger and cargo flights of Dimonim Air, Susi Air, Asian One Air, Carpendiem Air, Alda Air, Enggang Air, Semuwa Aviasi, Smart Air, and Dabi Air from and to Ilaga, he stated.

As of Tuesday, the inflow and outflow of passengers and cargo had yet to increase considerably. The number of passenger flights is expected to peak 10 days before Christmas, he pointed out.

The Ilaga Airport serves inter-sub-district flights within Puncak District and those in the Pegunungan Tengah areas, including the sub-districts of Sinak, Beoga, Doufa, and Wangbe, he noted.

The Pegunungan Tengah areas are identified as established bases of notorious armed wings of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).

In connection with the existence of these armed Papuan groups, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw had recently cautioned about armed Papuan criminals likely initiating untoward actions in future at the mining sites of gold and copper mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia prior to the commemoration of OPM's anniversary on Dec 1, 2019.

Related news: Indonesian police beef up security in Papua's Mimika District

According to the reports he obtained, several groups of armed Papuan rebels from Pegunungan Tengah in Jayawijaya District were spotted in Intan Jaya District. They were observed moving toward the mining areas of PT Freeport Indonesia, he stated.

Waterpauw admitted to having ordered security agencies' special team members to continually monitor the movements of criminals, adding that civil and religious leaders were also approached to prevent residents from being provoked by the groups.

In general, the security situation across Papua Province remains under control, he stated.

In August and September, Papua and West Papua came under the glare of the Indonesian and international mainstream media after a spate of violent protests rocked the areas in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had fueled public ire among native Papuans.

On August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, had staged protests to vocalize their dissatisfaction over alleged racist action against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.

During the rally in Manokwari, a local parliamentary building was set ablaze. The demonstrators also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets. Related news: West Papua's Unipa targets 100 doctors graduating in 2025

Related news: Papuan police chief warns of threats posed by armed Papuan criminals


Translator: Marius FY, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019