4 Papuan Tribes Threaten to Shut Down Sentani Airport

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  • Sentani Airport in Jayapura. TEMPO/Arif Fadillah

    Sentani Airport in Jayapura. TEMPO/Arif Fadillah

    TEMPO.CO, Jayapura - Four tribal groups in Papua: Palo, Taime, Yoku and Kopeo, threatened to shut down Sentani airport. These four tribal groups are considered to be the owners of the land to be used as the location of the airport development. The land is situated in Jayapura Regency Papua.

    The four tribal groups carried out such actions since the airport operator has yet to pay the compensation of their customary rights of the land. One of the tribal leaders, Thobias Palo, the head of Palo tribe, said the threat of closure and blockade will be translated into action immediately if their demands are not met by the government or Sentani airport operator. "We are ready to blockade and close down the airport," he said yesterday.

    Before the compensation money of their customary rights is paid, the tribal groups asked the workers who are building the airport in the east side to stop their activities. "We have not received even a small sum of money. We demand Rp3 millions, multiplied more than six hectares. It’s in line with the prevailing selling value of tax object," he said.

    However, before proving the threat of closure and blockade, Thobias said the tribal groups still follow the procedure by consulting the Papua Provincial Council to express their aspirations about the issue. "We have met the chairman of the Commission D of the Council. They promise to facilitate the payment of the compensation of our customary rights, used for the construction of the eastern part of the airport," he said.