West Sumatrans raise funds for Wamena riot survivors

Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA) - West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno declared on Wednesday the collection of Rp3.1 billion, through a provincial administration-initiated fundraising program, to help survivors of the recent deadly rioting in Wamena.

The funds came from individuals, organizations, mosques, and regional administrations through a gathering called "Badoncek," he told ANTARA in Padang, West Sumatra Province's capital city, on Wednesday.

Badoncek is a tradition followed by the people of Minangkabau to make a donation for others as a token of togetherness.

Renowned singer Elly Kasim, ex-minister Andrinof Chaniago, and Solok City Mayor Zul Elfian were among the figures that had donated at the fundraising program to help the West Sumatra migrants, who had survived the Wamena riot.

The donated funds were also channeled by organizations, mosques, and regional governments, such as "Gebu Minang", "Big Family of Solok District", "Fatahillah Mosque of Blok B Tanah Abang", Tanah Datar District, as well as the cities of Solok and Payakumbuh.

Deadly riots erupted 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. Several of them had migrated to Papua from their hometowns in provinces, such as West Sumatra and South Sulawesi, to earn a living.

On Tuesday, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw visited the survivors of the deadly Wamena riot, currently sheltered at Al Aqsa Mosque in Sentani, the capital city of Jayapura District.

Waterpauw requested them to return to Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, as the police would guarantee their security.

"Please get back to Wamena since we safeguard and protect the security of all residents," Waterpauw told 115 displaced residents of Wamena taking refuge at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Waterpauw was sympathetic in his approach to them, stating that he fully understood the trauma and anxiety experienced by the survivors of the recent brutal killings of innocent civilians in Wamena on September 23.

Several survivors of the Wamena riot fled in a mass exodus over trepidation and concern.

"However, please do not allow fear and trauma to linger too long within you since the security personnel are ready to safeguard against all forms of disturbances," Waterpauw, who has officially headed the Papua police headquarters since Sept 30, emphasized.

At present, normalcy has gradually been restored in Wamena, he added.

Source: ANTARA News

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