Papua police chief chairs meeting before OPM's anniversary

Papua police chief chairs meeting before OPM's anniversary

Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw (ANTARA/Evarukdijati)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw on Tuesday chaired a meeting with police and military officers, provincial government officials, and community leaders prior to the Free Papua Movement's (OPM's) anniversary commemoration on Dec 1.

Speaking at the meeting in Jayapura, in which the attendees also comprised Commander of the XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Mj. Gen. Herman Asaribab, Waterpauw spoke in brief of the recent deadly acts of violence and riots in Papua.

Waterpauw noted that the government was currently working towards rehabilitation and reconciliation in the aftermath of a series of violent incidents in August and September.

"Presently, the government is undertaking rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts to assist community members directly affected by the recent acts of violence and bringing to court all responsible for the incidents," he stated.

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The death toll in the recent acts of violence had reached 44 civilians and two military personnel, while 146 civilians and 18 security personnel got injured in the incidents, he revealed.

Apart from casualties, the recent incidents that erupted in Jayapura, Deiyai, and Wamena also resulted in several buildings and vehicles being set ablaze, destroyed, and vandalized.

Waterpauw remarked that the rioters should be brought to justice since their acts had claimed innocent lives and caused damage to property.

In terms of the potential security threats posed by armed Papuan groups ahead of Dec 1, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw had recently warned that the armed Papuan criminals will likely attempt to create disturbance in future at the mining sites of gold and copper mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia.

The reports he had obtained found that several groups of armed Papuan rebels from Pegunungan Tengah in Jayawijaya District were observed in Intan Jaya District and were heading toward the mining areas of PT Freeport Indonesia, he stated.

Waterpauw said he had instructed security agencies' special team members to constantly monitor the movements of criminals, he remarked, adding that civil and religious leaders were also approached to prevent residents from being provoked by the groups.

By and large, the security situation across Papua Province remains under control, he stated.

Papua and West Papua have come under the radar of both the Indonesian and foreign media after a spate of violence erupted in several parts of these two Indonesian provinces in August and September 2019.

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

The indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura again held protests on August 29, as they vented their ire over alleged racist behavior against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then took a violent turn.

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.

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