Benny Mawel, Jayapura – Three men from Waris district in Keerom regency, Papua, have reportedly been shot with rubber bullets as police attempted to disperse a mass gathering protesting civil servant (CPNS) recruitment results on Thursday.
One of the protesters, Karel Maunda, claimed the police had not fired warning shots. "We are disappointed because the police directly fired [into the crowd] and hit three Papuans," he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Ahmad Mustafa Kamal confirmed that Obet Swo, Robert May and Alan Swo had been hit with rubber bullets fired by police who were trying to disperse the crowd.
He added that the protestors had damaged the Keerom regent's office and set the Keerom Manpower Agency building on fire.
Obet and Robert are currently being treated at Bhayangkara Hospital in Jayapura while Alan is being held at the Keerom Police headquarters.
The police have named three out of four detainees suspects for alleged destruction of property and arson, Ahmad said without elaborating on their identities.
Around 250 people protested the results of a 2018 selection test for civil servant candidates on Thursday afternoon. They allegedly went to the regent's office and started to throw rocks at the building.
"A joint security team then fired warning shots and tear gas," Ahmad said.
The mass then continued their protest at the Keerom Manpower Agency and Village Empowerment Body, where they allegedly started several fires.
Ahmad said security personnel was able to calm the protest after engaging in a dialogue with local figures. The situation was under control but officers are still standing guard, he added.
Naomi Kwambre, daughter of tribal chief Hubertus Kwambre, explained that protestors had thought that the CPNS test results did not comply with a regulation that ensures 80 percent of civil servant positions would go to Papuans.
"The people who have gathered for the announcement spontaneously threw things at the regent's office," said Naomi.
The protesters occupied the area until 8 p.m. local time and blocked a road near the regent's office. (aly)