Thursday, 19 September 2019

Police Chief on West Papua Riots: Regrettable Yet Evitable

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian arrives at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) building for the MPR's 2019 annual meeting. TEMPO/Budiarti Utami Putri

    National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian arrives at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) building for the MPR's 2019 annual meeting. TEMPO/Budiarti Utami Putri

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian National Police (Polri) Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian expressed anguish over the riots that broke out in Manokwari, West Papua. He maintained again that the unfortunate widespread incidents were caused by misinformation and misunderstanding of recent incidents involving Papuan students in Malang and Surabaya, East Java.

    “This is regrettable. [This is an] incident that should not have happened because the Papuan university students have studied in East Java, as well as other Indonesian regions,” said Tito at the East Java Police Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya, on Monday.

    He believes that the frantic misinformation on how the Papuan students were treated sparked the public outrage among residents of Manokwari, which eventually mobilized numerous people to take over the region’s streets.

    “There are people who deliberately stirred discomfort,” said the former Papua police chief, referring to circulating pictures showing a Papua student was killed in the incident. “That is definitely not true. That is a hoax.”

    According to Tito, the incidents in Malang and Surabaya were actually isolated incidents that were overcome by local public figures, the military, the police, and the East Java Governor.

    He then called on the people of West Papua not to be easily influenced by unconfirmed information, especially if it spread through social media platforms.

    NURHADI