Robert Isidorus, Jakarta – At least a thousand residents of Wamena in Papua's Jayawijaya district have requested evacuation to the provincial capital, Jayapura, following Monday's riots that claimed the lives of 26 people, an official said on Wednesday.
More than 70 were wounded in the violence, sparked by a brawl between students of two different high schools in the city. The brawl occurred after a teacher of Yaspin Senior High School was falsely accused of having made a racist comment about Papuans.
The Indonesian Air Force dispatched two Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport planes from Jayapura to evacuate the traumatized residents.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian confirmed on Tuesday that 26 people, 22 of them non-Papuans, had died in the Wamena riots. Some burned to death while trapped in buildings that were set alight by rioters
"Injured victims and bodies will be prioritized for evacuation, as well as those wanting to leave Wamena over safety concerns," First Marshal Tri Bowo Budi Santoso, commander of Silas Papare Air Force Base in Jayapura, said on Wednesday.
He added that four of the wounded had arrived in Jayapura on Wednesday morning, along with their companions.
The planes from Jayapura also delivered food supplies for about 4,500 residents of Wamena who have been taking shelter in four locations since Monday.
At least 150 homes and shops, five government buildings and dozens of cars and motorcycles were damaged or destroyed in the riots.