Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud M.D. accused a Papuan district official of engaging "political maneuver" by publicly declaring resignation and fabricating story about a fatal shooting.
Wentius Nimiangge, deputy head of Nduga district, resigned on Monday after claiming that his driver and right-hand man Hendrik Lokbere was shot to dead on Dec. 20.
Mahfud said the claim was baseless as law enforces couldn't confirm the fatal shooting.
"Don't get provoked, [Wentius' resignation] could be just a political maneuver," Mahfud said after leading an inter-ministerial meeting discussing Papua at his office in Central Jakarta on Friday.
Hendrik reportedly was killed as he was caught in crossfire between government security personnel and a separatist group in Nduga. Mahfud said there was no proof that the driver was shot in the clash.
"He said his driver and henchman was shot, but we found no one. The TNI [Indonesian Military] and the National Police have confirmed that they did not found his identity," Mahfud said.
Wentius, who has been in the post since 2017, announced his resignation as he participated in a rally in Kenyam, Nduga. He has not officially submitted his resignation letter to the government.
Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian, who was present in the meeting, said that there was no immediate plan to withdraw security personnel from the restive province. Jakarta has beefed up security in Papua since the killing of at least 19 construction workers by a separatist group last December.
"No one can guarantee that such an incident will not happen again. That's why there is a joint task force by the TNI and the National Police to enforce the law," Tito said.
He also said that senior police officers stationed in Papua had been instructed to take punitive measures against their subordinates if proven guilty of attacking innocent civilians.
Apart from security issues, the meeting also discussed development programs to drive economic growth and prosperity in Papua.