Edo Karensa & Robert Isidorus, Jakarta/Tolikara – A clash over village fund disbursement has left two dead and at least 96 homes damaged in the Tolikara district, Papua, this month. Police and military authorities continue to deny the incident.
The clash was initially reported by Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), on Sunday afternoon (25/04) who said the conflict has been running since April 9 in the Gika and Panaga subdistricts.
The dispute was triggered after a perceived unfair disbursement of village strategic development funds among the subdistricts, Sutopo said in a statement.
At least two people have been killed, with 17 others sustaining severe injuries and a further 15 suffering minor injuries, Tolikara Disaster Mitigation Agency head Feri Kagoya said. Almost 100 homes have been damaged in the district.
"Four wheel vehicles cannot reach the conflict area because the road is horribly damaged. Tolikara Disaster Mitigation Agency has requested aid to be delivered by helicopter," Feri said on Sunday night.
Local commanders of police and military authorities have denied the incident. Cendrawasih Military Commander Maj. Gen. Hinsa Siburian said Panaga district resident, 24-year-old Deki Wanimbo, died April 9, just one day after the disbursement of funds in Kembo. The police spokesman said the death had led to the ensuing conflict.
Military and police personnel had facilitated mediation with Yaka Kogo, mother of the victim, Hinsa said. The cause of death remains unclear.
"I've called Tolikara Police chief. He said the situation is safe and there were no incidents like the one reported by the head of Tolikara Disaster Mitigation Agency," said Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, Papua Police chief.
Earlier this year, an Islamic mass prayer in the Tolikara district was attacked. Tolikara district made headlines during Idul Fitri celebrations last July, after members of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) set fire to several buildings, including a mosque where a group of Muslims were readying to perform mass prayer.
Police have named two suspects in the riot and the district's police chief was also dismissed from the post after the incident.