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Riau Islands police elite unit's 252 members deployed to Papua

Tempo - September 1, 2019

Jakarta (Antara) – Some 252 personnel of the Riau Islands Police's mobile brigade (Brimob) unit were deployed to Papua and West Papua, Saturday, to join their colleagues earlier dispatched there to help restore law and order.

Apart from offering assistance in the law enforcement mission, the dispatched personnel will also become involved in renovating public infrastructure and facilities that rioters in the provinces had scorched and vandalized, Riau Islands Police spokesman Sen. Coms S. Erlangga stated.

They also joined the humanitarian and health services in line with President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) instructions following rioting in Jayapura, Papua Province's capital city, on Thursday (Aug 29).

Deputy Chief of Riau Islands Province Brig. Gen. Yan Fitri Halimansyah and Commander of the Riau Islands Province's Brimob Unit Sen. Com. Guruh Arif Darmawan bore direct witness to the deployment of 252 Brimob personnel on early Saturday.

"Let us pray for the good health and safety of all personnel, and our prayers also go out to our brothers and sisters in Papua. May they help maintain the condition to remain conducive," he stated.

A circle of violence broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public anger among native Papuans.

Over this past week, native Papuans in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua held demonstrations protesting alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

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

During the rally in Manokwari, a local parliamentary building was set on fire. The demonstrators also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets.

However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian stated that normalcy was restored in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of excessive force.

On August 29, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura, the capital city of Papua, again staged protests, venting their anger over the alleged racist slurs against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16, but their rally then turned violent.

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, vandalizing and setting ablaze several government buildings. The office of ANTARA, Indonesia's national news agency, in the city was also intentionally damaged by the demonstrators on Thursday.

On August 28, a circle of violence also broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura. It ended with the death of an army soldier and two civilians.

As a reaction to the Surabaya incident, on August 22, leaders of several ethnic community-based organizations held a meeting in Biak Numfor District. They deplored the incident that had triggered public ire, expressing their complete rejection of all forms of racism and intolerance against indigenous Papuans.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1242515/riau-islands-police-elite-units-252-members-deployed-to-papua