Blitar district govt ready to evacuate its people from Papua: official

Blitar, E Java (ANTARA) - The Blitar District Administration has revealed that it is ready to evacuate its people from Papua Province in the aftermath of deadly riot that broke out in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, on Sept 23 and claimed 33 lives of innocent civilians.

To this end, the district government has kept coordinating with the East Java Provincial Government to clarify whether or not its people are among the survivors of this recent riot currently taking refuge outside Wamena.

"We have been coordinating with the provincial government to know whether or not our people are among those evacuated from Wamena or other cities in Papua," Head of the Social Welfare Office at Blitar District Administration Romelan said here on Saturday.

Romelan said he has received reports that several people from Blitar moved to Papua Province to make a living but he has yet to get informed on their whereabouts in the aftermath of the riot that killed a senior medical doctor and 32 other innocent civilians.

"In fact, the Wamena riot survivors originally coming from Malang District are among those who have left Papua while we have yet to receive information on the fate of our people," he said.

The Blitar District Administration vows to bring its people home if they are keen to get evacuated from Papua, he added.

During the past few weeks, a circle of violence erupted in various cities in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

On September 23, the riot broke out in Wamena during a massive protest, triggered by fake news on a teacher's racist slurs against local students.

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.

According to Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja, the rioting in Wamena might have been incited by the proliferation of hoaxes through social media platforms that fueled ire among its residents.

Several local media reports confirmed that the Wamena riot was spurred by hoaxes pertaining to a teacher's racist slur against native Papuan students.

In August, a wave of violence also broke out in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the Surabaya incident that had triggered resentment and fury among native Papuans.

Native Papuans in various parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua demonstrated to protest against alleged racist slurs targeting Papuan students in Surabaya on August 16.

In the aftermath of the recent Wamena rioting, many of the displaced people joined an exodus. Among them are those of East Java.

Some 120 survivors of this Wamena riot originally from Malang District, for instance, had been flown to East Java by a Hercules C-130 cargo aircraft and arrived at Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport on Oct 2.

Source: ANTARA News

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