Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Eleven native Papuan students who wanted to return to their universities in cities outside the Papua and West Papua Provinces could not board their aircraft at Sentani Airport on Saturday after some 15 other students prevented them from leaving.

The students who disagreed with their peers over getting back to their universities in the cities that they have been trying to leave since August 2019 had even stormed the Sentani Airport. They grabbed their peers' flight tickets and boarding passes.

This incident was narrated by Priest Alexander Maury, chief coordinator for returning the native Papuan students, during a press conference held in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Monday.

During the press conference, Maury was accompanied by his secretary, Matius Murib, and Chairman of the Papuan Customary Youth Organisation, Christian Arebo.

Some 700 native Papuan students joined an exodus by leaving their universities in various cities to return to their hometowns in Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on Aug 16, 2019.
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Violence then erupted in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

On August 29, 2019, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura staged a violent protest, which ended with several buildings and vehicles being torched.

The Papuan students who are keen to return to their universities in Java and other islands would be escorted by security personnel until they board their airplanes, Matius Murib said.

According to Murib, who is also chairman of the PAK-HAM, a human rights watch, a group of students who disagreed with their colleagues' choice to return had repeatedly come to the PAK-HAM secretariat to echo their political stance over this matter.

They argued that returning the native Papuan students to the cities where they are studying cannot be done without a dialogue with the Papua governor and those from several related agencies, he said.

However, in fact, the students have failed to show goodwill over holding a dialogue with the Papua governor, he said.

The blockade that the students had caused had been reported to the Papua police chief and commander of the XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command.


Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Mulyo Sunyoto
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