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Conflict in Topo not a tribal war: Meepago Customary Council calls for restrain and resolution

Tabloid JUBI - June 13, 2023

Nabire, Jubi – Meepago Regional Customary Council (DAW) has declared that the recent conflict occuring in Uwapa District's Topo, Nabire Regency, as not being a tribal war. Marko Okto Pekei, the Council's chairman, made this statement based on his observation and assessment, which revealed the absence of typical characteristics associated with tribal warfare.

"The conflict in Topo did not involve traditional archery where opposing sides face each other in a specific location for a certain period. This situation did not develop immediately after the land dispute. Additionally, the first two deaths were not a result of archery but occurred during normal situations involving road users," said Pekei.

Pekei further emphasized that there was no leader commanding or leading tribal wars in the conflict. Instead, it was certain individuals outside the tribe engaged in actions such as blockades, hostage-taking, physical violence, sexual violence, and even murder, which generated widespread anger and led to spontaneous mass mobilization within the Mee tribe community.

"To put it simply, the conflict in Topo was not a tribal war because there was no warlord," he said.

However, it is undeniable that the conflict in Topo has garnered attention not only within the Meepago customary area but also throughout Papua and beyond. The conflict has resulted in material losses and even loss of life.

According to Pekei, public opinion formed over the past few days has led people to assume that the conflict in Topo is a tribal war. This has caused unrest and concern among both the Mee and Lani tribes in the Nabire area and other regions outside of Nabire.

The escalation of the conflict subsided after the intervention of the regents of Meepago and security force leaders, who visited the Topo community.

Pekei urged all parties to convey accurate information to the public and refrain from spreading false information that could disturb the community, suggesting that physical violence is still ongoing in Topo and Nabire.

"I urge all parties to refrain from portraying the conflict in Topo as a tribal war without considering the dynamics of the conflict and the actual situation's development. Not all Mee and Lani tribesmen are involved in the Topo conflict. Therefore, the conflict in Topo should not be equated with tribal wars that have occurred in other areas," he appealed.

Pekei mentioned that the conflict in Topo has been addressed by the local regents and security forces. He called for all parties to support the ongoing efforts to handle and resolve the conflict, aiming for a proper and comprehensive resolution.

"I hope the Mee and Lani tribes in Nabire could maintain mutual security and avoid interfering with each other. This will create a conducive environment for dialogue and problem-solving. It is important to refrain from provoking the situation," said Pekei.

He also expressed his hope that the Mee and Lani communities outside of Nabire would not be influenced by the conflict in Topo and refrain from bringing the problems to other areas. He emphasized that there was currently no physical violence occurring in Topo or Nabire.

Source: https://en.jubi.id/conflict-in-topo-not-a-tribal-war-meepago-customary-council-calls-for-restrain-and-resolution