Papua, Jubi – Indonesia has deployed 600 military personnel to Papua, to safeguard the construction of a controversial road project.
The security build-up around the project, which was promised in January, threatens to deepen escalating violence in the Highlands regions.
The Antara state news agency reported that the soldiers, which include 150 combat engineers, will be supervising work on the 4,600-kilometre Trans-Papua Highway.
In December, at least 17 Indonesian construction workers working on the project were massacred by the West Papua Liberation Army.
Before their deployment, the Chief of the Hasanuddin Regional Military Command XIV, Major General Surawahadi, addressed the soldiers in the city of Makassar.
“You have heavy tasks and responsibilities to safeguard the construction of the Trans Papua road, including dealing with security disturbance from the armed separatist group,” he said. (*)