Jakarta – Thousands of residents living in Wamena, Papua are seeking to leave the restive city following violent unrest earlier this week that left at least 32 people dead.
Around 1,200 residents have signed up with the Indonesian Air Force to flee Wamena, citing fears over staying in areas around Baliem Valley, said Air Cdre. Triwibowo, the commander of Silas Papare Air Base in Jayapura, Papua.
The Air Force has prepared two Hercules aircraft for the evacuation. "Two Hercules planes have been prepared to transport the residents, especially injured ones," Triwibowo said as reported by Antara news agency.
He went on to say that the National Police were also set to deploy an additional aircraft for the mission.
The Indonesian Military (TNI) confirmed separately that the death toll of Monday's incident, which reportedly involved hundreds of Wamena's schoolchildren and local residents, has risen to 32.
Students in the city staged protests that escalated into violence on Monday, with some reportedly burning government offices and shop-houses. The chaos, the Papua Police said, was triggered by "baseless information" of a teacher who allegedly used a racial slur against a student.
Many of the deceased victims were found trapped inside their burned houses. (vny)