Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Several Indonesian soldiers, stationed near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, wore Santa Claus costumes and distributed Christmas gifts to residents of Workwana Village in Mannem Subdistrict on Sunday.

The villagers looked enthusiastic when meeting with and receiving the Christmas gifts from the Santa Claus costumed soldiers, according to Commander of the 122/TS Infantry Battalion Task Force Major Diki Apriyadi.

The task force personnel initiated the community service for the villagers in Mannem Subdistrict, Keerom District, Papua Province, to join the happiness of Christmas celebration with them, he said.

"Through this community service, we hopefully bring happiness to the residents who will celebrate Christmas. We also hope that what we do will make us get closer to locals," he said in his press statement.

In response to this community service, Levanus Kombat (54), the village's community leader, was quoted as thanking the soldiers for having brought happiness to the villagers ahead of the celebration of Christmas.

ANTARA reported earlier that Indonesian soldiers in Papua are required to multitask amid the government's incessant efforts to bridge the regional development gap between Papua and other provinces.

The soldiers deployed in the Papua region are required to be responsive in seeking solutions to problems and challenges faced by Papuan communities in their daily lives.

They are also expected to play the role of problem solvers for local communities amid their central task to defend the country's territorial integrity and guard the safety of Indonesians.

The geopolitical and geostrategic position of Papua, which shares land and sea borders with PNG, occupies a significance in matters of Indonesia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Over the past few years, soldiers stationed in the region have been facing security threats posed by armed Papuan separatist groups operating in several districts.

Despite the security-related challenges, soldiers have actively engaged in community service activities, highlighting their commitment to supporting local populations.

Several personnel of the Indonesia-PNG Border Security Task Force have been assisting locals through community services such as voluntary teaching, mobile libraries, and street cleanup programs.

Related news: Papua: Soldiers provide free health services to villagers

Related news: Prioritizing soft approach toward armed Papuan groups: TNI

Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
Copyright © ANTARA 2023