Jakarta – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe has apologized for deadly riots that rocked Wamena, the seat of Jayawijaya regency in Papua, which paralyzed parts of the city and left more than 30 people dead, with thousands fleeing their homes in fear.
"My sincere apology and condolences to the victims of the riots in Wamena on Sept. 23," he said on Monday as reported by Antara news agency.
He said his administration would reconstruct and rehabilitate local government assets as well as burned down shops and kiosks owned by residents but emphasized that the more urgent matter at the moment was to evacuate riot victims from the scene, both injured and deceased.
Enembe added that the local government, the police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) would guarantee the safety of both Papuans and non-native Papuans in the province.
"The public doesn't have to be afraid because [we] will guarantee people's safety," he said. "We regret that the incident occurred in Wamena and Papua in general, where it started from the incident in Surabaya and Malang.
The governor was referring to alleged racist attacks made on Papuan students in two East Java last month.
Tension in Wamena has been escalating since last week. However, authorities have not stated what may have triggered the riot.
It was previously reported that a non-Papuan teacher had used a racial slur against a Papuan student at SMA PGRI state high school, which prompted students and residents of Wamena to stage a mass protest.
However, whether that protest is connected to the riots remains unclear. (sau)