Andita Rahma, Jakarta – Police announced that it had arrested the head of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Mimika, Steven Itlay, for an alleged connection to one of the demonstrations in Papua.
Police deem Steven to be the figure behind the demonstration at the University of Cendrawasih in Jayapura, Papua Province and other similar public uprisings.
"We suspect he is connected to BW (Benny Wenda). We are investigating his role," said Indonesian National Police Spokesman Brigadier General Dedi Prasetyo on Thursday.
Benny Wenda, who sought political asylum in Britain in 2003, is widely considered by authorities as one of the people behind the Papua unrest. He is also the chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). Police suspect Steven of actively communicating with Benny.
Steven was once nabbed by police in April of 2016 for abusing Mimika Police Chief Adj. Grand Comm. Yustanto and was released from jail on February 11, 2017.
The Indonesian National Police have detained two individuals suspected to be the masterminds behind the Papua and West Papua unrest.