TEMPO.CO, Manokwari - The West Papua Police arrested 20 suspected of scorching and vandalizing buildings as well as looting properties during violent protests against the recent Surabaya incident in Manokwari, Sorong, and Fakfak on August 19-21, 2019.
Police investigators continued their search for other suspected rioters in the three cities, Spokesman of the West Papua Police headquarters Adjunct Senior Commissioner Mathias Krey informed journalists in Manokwari on Monday.
"The number of suspects may increase. The police investigators continue to work on this case in Manokwari, Sorong, and Fakfak," Krey remarked, adding that 10 of the 20 suspects were allegedly involved in the Manokwari rioting on August 19.
Seven other suspects were caught in Sorong for their alleged acts of violence in Sorong, while the three others were allegedly involved in a violent protest erupting in Fakfak, Krey noted.
On August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, had protested to voice their discontent over alleged racist action against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.
During the rally in Manokwari, a local parliamentary building was set ablaze. The rioters also torched tires in several parts of the city and main streets.
However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian confirmed that normalcy was restored in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of excessive force.
In another development, clashes between two groups, who opposed and supported the violent rallies that erupted after the rioting in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, on August 29, claimed four lives.
"We are optimistic of no more communal clashes triggering new cases," Jayapura City Police Chief Adjunct Sen. Coms Gustav Urbinas remarked while commenting on the spate of violence that broke out in the aftermath of the rioting on August 29.
Speaking in connection with the clashes that not only claimed the lives of four residents but also wounded several people, Urbinas could not as yet divulge details about the exact figure of people, who had sustained minor and serious injuries.
The police will, at no cost, allow perpetrators of violent acts and sweeping operations to go scot-free.
"No reason is justifiable for committing acts of violence, and we are taking stern actions against them," he stated.
The Jayapura city police have, until now, arrested five residents for carrying sharp weapons, he revealed, adding that normalcy had gradually been restored in the city, and the residents had resumed their day-to-day activities.
Several shopping malls and shops that withstood the recent rioting reopened, while the wreckage and debris of destroyed buildings began to be cleared up.
A spate of violence erupted in several parts of Papua and West Papua in the upshot of the alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16, 2019, that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.