Papua, Jubi – Jubi successfully contacted an exodus student OG on Monday evening (23/9) for interview. After asking Jubi to wait for a second for him charging his phone’s battery, he told the chronology of clash involving the police, students and residents in Expo, Heram Sub-district, Jayapura Municipality, Papua Province.
“I survived because of the help of a woman. She opened her house’s door and let me in after seeing me entered her yard to wash my face after running away from the riot,” he said. There, he also asked permission from the host to charge his phone’s battery to communicate with his friends.
He said that students from the University of Cenderawasih (Uncen), representatives of the Student Executive Board (BEM) of the University of Cenderawih, and members of the Solidarity for Papuan exodus students from different cities have gathered in front of the university’s auditorium since 7 in the morning.
“It is strike solidarity,” he said. The students demand the campus authority to let the auditorium as the post of the exodus students in Jayapura.
Around 10 p.m, students decided to open post there, whereas hundreds of equipped security forces have lined up across the street in front of the auditorium. They are ready to secure the protest.
The auditorium of the University of Cenderawasih located in Abepura is known as ‘Uncen Bawah’, while ‘Uncen Atas’ refers to the university’s compound located in Perumnas 3 Waena.
An hour later, OG said that the police asked the students to leave the campus and already provided buses and trucks to transport them away from the university. “We were forced to disperse. If not, they will arrest us. So, we got on to the trucks and buses that transported us to Expo Waena,” he said.
As he arrived in Expo Waena, he wondered to find the troop of Mobile Brigade was already there. The police also warned the students not to return to their post in Expo Waena.
“Around noon, the joint police and military forces came to dissolve the students,” he said.
However, he said, besides the troop, there was a mob who started attacking the students. “They threw stones and bottles towards us, while the police flung the tear gas. It triggered an outrage among the students, and the clash cannot be avoided,” he said.
Later, OG said the students heard gunfire. So, they disperse to save their life, to escape from the thrown stones and shooting. Some students fled to the campus of the Institut Seni Budaya Indonesia (ISBI) nearby.
“Some did not move and raise their hands because the fear of the lasers pointed to them. Meanwhile, some kept run away to save their female friends. We ran and tried to pass the wire fences,” he said.
He and his friends kept run to the residential areas, and finally were able to hide in a resident’s house. They moved to another location after feeling quite safe and perceived that the police starting to size houses.
“Later on, we heard that the police had shot dead three students, while others were injured and hospitalised in Bhayangkara Hospital, Abepura,” he said.
He also got information that many students arrested by the police. There, the students were grounded, beaten under the sun, and transported to the Police Mobile Brigade Headquarter in Kotaraja, Jayapura City.
“Meanwhile, those who can escape the arrest because of hiding in residents’ houses returned to the post of exodus students. However, we are still trying to contact some students who still lost,” he said.
Uncen Chancellor : No violence occurred in campus
The University of Cenderawasih Chancellor Dr Apolo Safanpo states that mass dissolution in front of the university’s auditorium took place in a persuasive and dialogical manner.
“There is no violence inside the Uncen campus as we can see that the students gathered peacefully in the campus from the early morning till the afternoon. There is no violence because all chancellor’s assistants and deans had a dialogue with them,” he said on Monday evening (23/9).
After having dialogue, he continued, both parties agreed that students should leave the campus to Expo Waena where violence later occurred. So, he questions why has this happened? Who has triggered a clash that was eventually leading to casualties?
“What needs to ask is who was behind this, and why was the situation suddenly heating up? It is just our temporary assumption,” he said.
Moreover, he told a day before the protest; six men were captured through the CCTV trying to light a fire in the rector’s building. “It recorded in the campus’ CCTV that six men had thrown up gasoline and to set fire, but they escaped. They were planning to burn the Uncen,” said the chancellor.
Given that situation, he then asked the Abepura Police Chief to anticipate the unwanted situation and to have a dialogue with the students to avoid violence inside the campus.
“No violence, avoid the clash, this is what I wanted and told the Abepura Police Chief during a dialogue with the students. So, we wanted them to not doing anarchy here, such as burning down the campus or rector’s office or the auditorium. We want the students to do this protest safely and peacefully,” he said.
DPRD Chairperson hopes all parties hold back
The Chairperson of the Papuan House of Representatives Yunus Wonda called all parties to hold back following riots occurred in Expo Waena, Jayapura Municipality and Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency.
Wonda hopes all parties including security forces, communities, pupils and students to hold back and create a safe atmosphere in Papua.
“Do not be provoked to any situations that were ultimately leading to an unsafe condition in Papua. Your success (pupils and students) is the future of this land, the future of Papua,” told Wonda on Monday (23/9).
He also asked the security forces to refrain in facing the protesters. He said the security forces must not shot, which will eventually cause casualties. “Do not let anyone die in the demonstrations. We must keep everything safe and secured by not allowing the protesters to create riots.
But no gunfire should be allowed in addressing protest because weapons are used to protect people,” he said.
Further, he added the situation in Papua would be even more uncomfortable and continued to flare up if there were casualties.
“It’s enough that Papuans continue to be victims in this land. Don’t make a hatred never goes away. The people of Papua would never feel at peace,” he said.
Until today, seventeen civilians reportedly killed while 61 have injured. Many Waena residents, both indigenous and non-indigenous Papuans, decided to flee to safer locations such as the Jayawijaya Police Headquarters, Military Command Base and churches.
Meanwhile, 318 protesters reportedly detained in the Papua Police Mobile Brigade Headquarters in Kotaraja, Jayapura Municipality after the clash in Expo Waena.
According to the Papua Police Chief Rudolf Rodja, hundreds of protesters are now under the police’s investigation. “Until now no one has been named as a suspect because the police’s investigators are still questioning them,” said the chief in Jayapura City on Monday (23/9). (*)
Reporters: Kristianto Galuwo, Abeth You, Arjuna Pademme
Editor: Pipit Maizier