Papua police chief deplores blockade against students

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw deplored the blockade by 15 Papuan students against their peers wanting to return to their universities outside Papua and West Papua Provinces they had left in August 2019.

In dealing with this matter, Waterpauw pledged stern action against those preventing the native Papuan students from various cities outside Papua and West Papua from continuing their studies.

"As the Papua police chief and a native Papuan, I deplore the blockade because it will affect the students and security," he told ANTARA in Jayapura Tuesday commenting on the recent incident at Sentani Airport.

Eleven native Papuan students who wanted to return to their universities were prevented from boarding their aircraft at Sentani Airport on January 11, 2020 by some 15 other students.

The students who disagreed with their peers over returning to their universities had even stormed the Sentani Airport.

They grabbed the flight tickets and boarding passes of their peers, Priest Alexander Maury, chief coordinator, said at a press conference Monday.

He would take stern action against those preventing students from returning to their universities, Waterpauw said.

The exodus of several hundreds of indigenous Papuan students last year had hampered the progress of their studies while the students preventing them from returning to their universities were dropouts, he said.

Some 700 native Papuan students reportedly joined an exodus by leaving their universities in various cities to return to their hometowns in Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16, 2019.

Violence then erupted in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.

On August 29, 2019 indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura staged a violent protest, which ended with several buildings and vehicles being torched.

In dealing with the blockade, a human rights activist, Matius Murib, demanded that security be provided to Papuan students until they board their aircraft.

A group of students who disagreed with their colleagues' choice to return had repeatedly come to the human rights watch, PAK-HAM secretariat to echo their political stance over this matter, according to Murib, chairman of the PAK-HAM.

They argued that students should not be allowed to return without a dialogue with the Papua governor and others from several related agencies, he said.

However, the students failed to show goodwill over holding a dialogue with the Papua governor, he said.

Source: Antara News

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