Diana Mariska, Robert Isidorus, Telly Nathalia and Farouk Arnaz, Jakarta – Papua Police said on Monday that the situation in Wamena had returned to normal and that residents were starting to return home, following deadly riots that broke out in the city on Sept. 23.
"The situation in Wamena has returned to normal, public services have resumed and schools have reopened," Papua Police spokesman Senior Comr. Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.
According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, 2,636 residents were being housed in temporary camps in several parts of the province as of Saturday.
First Marshal Tri Bowo Budi Santoso, commander of Silas Papare Air Force Base, meanwhile confirmed that the Indonesian Air Force was ready to facilitate the evacuees' return to Wamena.
The riots were sparked by a brawl between students after a teacher of Yaspin Senior High School was reportedly falsely accused of having made a racist comment about Papuan people.
Several homes, public facilities, government buildings and vehicles were set alight in the ensuing riots. The city's airport was also closed.
At least 32 people died and more than 60 were injured in the unrest, which prompted more than a thousand residents to ask the government to evacuate them to Jayapura, the provincial capital.
Police have meanwhile arrested three people allegedly responsible for the violence. "The three suspects are S.E. (40), I.G. (29) and Y.E. (53)," the police spokesman said in Jayapura on Sept. 27.
Police confiscated gasoline from the suspects, who have been charged with committing public violence, provocation and arson, which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Police said the number of suspects was likely to increase as the investigation continued.