Megawati sends envoy to meet Papuan Catholic and Christian leaders

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesia's fifth president and leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Megawati Soekarnoputri has sent her special envoy to meet respected figures of Catholic and Christian churches in an endeavor to restore peace in Papua and West Papua.

During his visit to Jayapura in Papua Province, Megawati's envoy, Komarudin Watubun, has met Catholic Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar and several respected figures of the Evangelical Christian Church (GKI) Sinode of Papua, including Andrikus Mofu, M.Th.

At the meetings taking place on Saturday (Aug 31), Watubun and the local religious leaders discussed various crucial issues in the two provinces, PDIP revealed in its press statement that ANTARA received here on Monday.

During the meetings, Komarudin Watubun was accompanied by Chairman of PDIP-Papua Chapter

John Wempi Wetipo and his secretary Calvin Mansnembra.

Watubun conveyed Megawati Soekarnoputri's important messages to the Catholic and Christian leaders in Papua on the importance of building togetherness and brotherhood towards peace and prosperity for all within Indonesia.

He emphasized that Megawati pledges to bring peace and prosperity to the entire people in Papua and West Papua, and she sent him to meet the local religious leaders to hear their insightful views and hopes.

"The results of these meetings will be reported to the PDIP leader in Jakarta to be soon followed up in an effort to create everlasting peace in the land of Papua," he was quoted as saying.

A circle of violence broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public anger among native Papuans.

Over this past week, native Papuans in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua held demonstrations protesting alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.

On August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, had protested to voice their discontent over alleged racist action against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.

During the rally in Manokwari, a local parliamentary building was set on fire. The demonstrators also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets.

However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian stated that normalcy was restored in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of excessive force.

On August 29, the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura, the capital city of Papua, again staged protests, venting their anger over the alleged racist slurs against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16, but their rally then turned violent.

The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, vandalizing and setting ablaze several government buildings. The office of ANTARA, Indonesia's national news agency, in the city was also intentionally damaged by the demonstrators on Thursday.

On August 28, a circle of violence also broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura. It ended with the death of an army soldier and two civilians.

As a reaction to the Surabaya incident, on August 22, leaders of several ethnic community-based organizations held a meeting in Biak Numfor District. They deplored the incident that had triggered public ire, expressing their complete rejection of all forms of racism and intolerance against indigenous Papuans.

Source: ANTARA News

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