Rizki Fachriansyah and Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – A group of unidentified individuals tossed two sacks of snakes into the front yard of a Papuan student dormitory on Jl. Kalasan in Surabaya, East Java in the early hours of Monday, according to the Papuan Students Alliance (AMP).
AMP central committee head Yohanes Giai said that four unidentified people riding two motorcycles pulled up outside the front gate of the dormitory and proceeded to throw a couple of untied sacks containing snakes onto the lawn at 4:19 a.m.
"The sacks were already open. One sack, which was made from plastic, contained one snake weighing 15 to 20 kilograms. The other sack, made of burlap, contained two aggressive snakes – presumably poisonous," Yohanes said.
He said residents of the dormitory had managed to secure the large snake. However, the two other snakes had managed to escape.
Yohanes went on to say that several students who went after the unidentified perpetrators retrieved a pair of binoculars about 20 meters from the dormitory. He said the binoculars were possibly used by the perpetrators to spy on Papuan students living in the dormitory.
"We have yet to report this incident to the police," he told The Jakarta Post.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto expressed his skepticism regarding the snake-throwing incident.
"There are rumors of snakes being thrown into the [Papuan student dorm]. What actually happened was our Papuan brothers physically assaulted several security personnel. We're currently investigating [the incident], but I don't think anyone would ever catch snakes and throw them like that," Wiranto said.
Late last month, Papuan students living in the dormitory refused to welcome East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa and Papua Governor Lukas Enembe when the two visited their dorm in the wake of a racist abuse case, which involved the students being called "monkeys" and "pigs" over an alleged desecration of the national flag on the country's 74th Independence Day.
A number of students even chanted "Papua Merdeka" (Free Papua) as they threw rocks at the motorcade. Due to security risks, the governors decided to leave as local police attempted to diffuse the tension.
The students also put up a banner in front of their dormitory reading "Referendum is the Solution" and on Aug. 30 some unidentified people threw paint on the banner to obscure the statement, AMP said in its release on Monday.