Saturday, 18 January 2020

Hundreds of Former Gafatar Members Evacuated

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  • ANTARA FOTO/Jessica Helena Wuysang

    ANTARA FOTO/Jessica Helena Wuysang

    TEMPO.CO, Pontianak - Hundreds of former members of Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) from Mempawah Regency have been evacuated to Pontianak. They have arrived in Pontianak since Tuesday afternoon.

    “The first group was evacuated using four-wheeled vehicles and they have arrived at Tanjungpura Military Command XII for temporary shelter,” said West Kalimantan Police spokesperson AKBP Arianto on Tuesday.

    The former members of Gafatar were evacuated following mounting pressure from local residents to leave Mempawah. Some residents even burnt down several homes of the former Gafatar members. “Hundreds of police and TNI officers are still standing guard in the location to prevent unwanted things,” said Arianto.

    Arianto urged people not to be easily provoked by committing unlawful actions. “We should let related agencies to handle this problem,” he said.

    After being temporary settled in Pontianak, the refugees will be repatriated using vessels. “We have handled the funds to repatriate them. We will also take care of their assets,” said Mempawah Regent Ria Norsan.

    Previously, on Monday evening, one unit of Avanza car was burned at Mempawah Regent office yard. The car was allegedly owned by a former Gafatar member who was negotiating with the local government about the locals’ ultimatum that refused them to live in the area.

    Ria Norsan had asked the people to disband. “Several representatives of former Gafatar members asked for time to discuss the demand with their families,” said Ria Norsan. However, they refused to disband and demanded former Gafatar members to leave Mempawah.

    Nine houses of former Gafatar members were also burnt down. “That’s true. Nine houses,” said Gafatar chief Mahful Tumanurung on Tuesday. The former Gafatar members now have no place to live.

    Joko, 48, coordinator of former Gafatar Group at Sedahan Village, Kayong Utara Regency, said he did not know where to live. “We will let the government handle this. We don’t know where else to go because we have nothing,” he said.

    Joko moved from Lampung because he wanted to develop farming and lands in Kayong Utara Regency. The fund he had from selling lands and properties have been used to move and farm in Sedahan Village.