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Wamena riot survivors urged to not join exodus in Indonesia

Fired up: People react as a building burns after protests broke out in Wamena, Papua, on Monday. Protesters burned down a government office and other buildings in Wamena, according to an AFP report. (AFP/Vina Rumbewas). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

JAYAPURA, Oct 2, 2019, ANTARA. The Papua provincial administration has called on South Sulawesi residents who survived the deadly Wamena riot not to join the mass exodus but to keep living side-by-side with the native Papuans in Jayawijaya District, reported the ANTARA.

The appeal was echoed, Tuesday, by Assistant of the Papua Provincial Government’s Regional Secretary for Economic and Social Welfare Affairs, Muhammad Musaad, following a meeting between the Papua governor and South Sulawesi’s deputy governor here Monday.

“All Indonesians, including those from South Sulawesi, have the right to live in Papua as an integrated part of Indonesia,” he said, adding that Papua Governor Lukas Enembe expressed his deepest condolences over the deaths of 33 residents in the Wamena rioting.

In ensuring the safety of all Wamena residents, including those from South Sulawesi, Enembe has vowed to coordinate with various related parties, particularly the law enforcement and security agencies, Musaad said.

Enembe received South Sulawesi’s Deputy Governor Andi Sudirman and the South Sulawesi Provincial Administration’s Secretary Abdul Hayat, Monday evening.

At the meeting, Enembe called on the survivors of the Wamena rioting not to join a mass exodus but to remain in the city.

Those attending the meeting were also told about the survivors’ confessions which then became heartrending stories of the heroic efforts from many native Papuans in Wamena to save the lives of their neighbors from the killers.

Referring to the confessions of these survivors, including those from South Sulawesi, it was concluded that the rioters were not from Wamena, Musaad said.

“At the meeting, the South Sulawesi deputy governor also handed over a humanitarian fund totaling Rp1 billion to the Jayawijaya district administration to help ease the local government’s financial burden and assist the affected community members,” he said.

Sudirman urged Enembe to support the efforts to rebuild the residents’ houses and kiosks burned down or destroyed by the rioters.

Deadly riots broke out in Wamena during a rally that native Papuan students had staged on September 23.

A total of 33 people, including a medical doctor, were killed, while at least 77 others sustained injuries in the riot that also compelled several thousand residents, mostly non-native Papuans, to take shelter in the local military and police compounds.

The dead and wounded comprised non-native Papuans, who were assaulted by rioters brandishing machetes and arrows. Many of them had migrated to Papua from their hometowns in provinces, such as West Sumatra and South Sulawesi, to earn a living.

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