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Special report: Risking peace in Wamena (part 2 of 6)

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PLN employees repair the electricity grid in Homhoom following the burning of the power house in the riot of 23 September 2019. – Jubi/Vembri Waluyas

An exploded mass riot blasted Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya Regency, Papua, on 23 September 2019 has shocked public’s sense of humanity. Everyone shaken and mourned to see how the anti-racism protest by students exploded into a riot killing at least 42 people and destroyed a half of the biggest town in Papua’s highlands.

But what people want right now is to embroider the already-torn-apart social relationship immediately, to promptly heal the wounds. On the other hand, the government has many things to concern if they want to rebuild a robust peace in society. The article is the second part of six articles of “Risking peace in Wamena”.

An obscured morning in Homhom

At the same time, hundreds of people dressed in high school uniform also gathered in Homhom, a location situated only 3.2 Km north of the Jayawijaya regent office. They looked furious. A pastor of Wesorama Baptist Church of the Papua Baptist Fellowship Church (PGBP) in Pikhe, the Rev. Simet Yikwa, said the mob wanted to approach the regent office to join the protest against racism by a teacher of SMA PGRI Wamena.

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But, they were not able to pass the police at Wamena Police Headquarters in Homhom Street. While forcibly returned to the t-section in Pikhe Street, the mob were becoming more violent. “They threw stones in all directions. They are so many, perhaps thousand. They just threw away the stones randomly. But, no one set a fire at the time,” said the Rev. Yikwa.

The police repeatedly come to the scene and warned them with several warning shots. Instead of stepping down, the mob even became more desperate after hearing seven students been arrested by the police when they came to SMA Yapis Wamena. In the chaos, people scattered to run away trying to escape from Homhom Street.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Papua Customary Council elected in the Extraordinary Congress, Dominikus Surabut, told that he met some protesters running from Homhom Street to the intersection of SD Percobaan and Sangiri streets.

“I was able talking to a high school student standing near me, ‘boy, wait a minute!’, but another student then shouted at me, ‘hey you! You’re provocateur!’ trying to hit my body with a wooden stick. I deflected, and the bat broke. But, it was not over yet. A girl came to approach. She hit my helmet with a big stone and kicked my motorbike,” said Dominikus Surabut.

Surabut believes that those who had abused him were students. However, he also thought some of the protesters look ‘mature’ as students. Because he was aware that the masses did not recognise him and he would not be able to calm them down, he finally pulled away.

Meanwhile, a resident Obeth Alua testified the crowd in the t-section of Homhom, and Pikhe streets refuse people to approach. Therefore, Obeth and his friend only watched a mass rampage occurred in front of Yudha Supermarket from a distance. Also, he does not know any of those who involved in the violence.

“They said they want to do the anti-racism rally. I don’t know those people, so I just watched from a distance. Suddenly I saw two people from the crowd shot down: a boy and a girl,” said Obeth Alua. He remembers the victims did not wear high school uniform.

The Rev. Simet Yikwa confirmed there was a boy shot during the rampage in Homhom Street. Later, he learned the boy’s name is Kelion Tabuni (20 years old), an architecture student from Universitas Negeri Manado, North Sulawesi. However, he was unaware of the girl that Alua mentioned of being shot and taken to Wesaput. Jubi also cannot obtain further confirmation about the girl from other sources.

Shops in Pikhe area were burnt down in the mass riot on 23 September 2019.– Jubi/Vembri Waluyas

However, both the Rev. Yikwa and Alua testified about how they saw the wave of outrage amongst the masses rapidly grew after they saw Kelion Tabuni died. Some residents who previously watched from a distance turned angry, joined the crowd and attacked the shops surround Homhom and Pikhe streets.

“I saw some people carried the body of Kelion Tabuni, moved it to Pikhe. Meanwhile, the mob started attacking shops and stalls there. They took gasoline in the bottles displayed in front of the shops, threw it to the shops in Homhom Street and set alight,” said the Rev. Yikwa.

They burned Dina Teknik, a car repair shop located in Homhom Street, also Yudha Supermarket’s warehouse. During the rampage, some protesters and residents were shot.

While seeing the rampage start increased, the Rev. Simet Yikwa mobilised the officials of Wesaroma Baptist Church to evacuate the migrants. Most of them are the owners of shops, repair shops or stalls in Homhom and Pikhe streets.

“We picked some of them from their house’s back door. If any shop or house has no back door, we broke into it and took the migrants to Wesaroma Baptist Church. We managed to save about 350 migrants in our church. The reverend Yason Jikwa from Panorama Baptist Church was also able to evacuate around 270 migrants to his church,” said the Rev. Yikwa.

Meanwhile, in Pikhe Sreet, the flame continued to move towards the north, away from the city, destroying rows of shops, stalls, repair shops on the left and rights sides of the street. The arsonists continued to move along as if they followed a group of people carrying the body of Kelion Tabuni across the Pikhe Bridge, towards Pisugi. Black thick smoke arose, visible up to Wamena downtown.

Meanwhile, Junaedi, the Department Head of UP3 PLN Wamena, predicted that the mass rampage had occurred before the riot devastated half of the city of Wamena. He said the voltage-reducing transformer in Homhom Streed had exploded before the regent office caught fire. “It exploded at around 9.30 a.m. After that, the electricity transformer near the regent office exploded,” said Junaedi in Wamena on 4 October 2019.

At the time when the mass riot and burning occurred in Homhom Street, the students of SMA PGRI and other schools were conducting a rally in front of the Jayawijaya regent office. They continued to sit there demanding the police to release their seven friends who arrested in SMA Yapis Wamena.

But, why and how the outrage masses could gather in Homhom Street?

The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) team is still also looking for the answer. The Komnas HAM Chairman Ahmad Taufik Damanik said they are still questioning where did the mob actually come from? It is a big question mark. For that reason, they asked the police to investigate it further. “We already asked the police to find out and trace the allegation of mass mobilisation,” said the human rights commissionaire Damanik in Jayapura on 17 October 2019. (To be continued)

Jubi Journalists Victor Mambor and Islami Adisubrata also contributed into the article writing.


Reporter: Aryo Wisanggeni

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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HIV/AIDS transmission in Jayapura Regency claimed to decline

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Photo illustration of health services. – Pexels.com

Sentani, Jubi – Jayapura Health Office claims HIV/AIDS cases in Jayapura Regency has declined with only 3,202 cases occurred until last year.

“HIV/AIDS prevention is a complex issue. It would not only the responsibility of the health office, but all parties should contribute in educating the community,” said Pungut Sunarto, the Division Head of Disease Prevention and Management of the Jayapura Regional Health Office, on Tuesday (21/1/2020).

People living with HIV/AIDS in Jayapura Regency are mostly the productive age group ranging from 20-49 years old. There are also infants and children among patients.

“We are always updating the report on people living with HIV/AIDS [in our region]. If not, they would not be able to access the ARV,” said Pungut.

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He further said that the family plays a crucial role in preventing HIV/AIDS transmission. Similarly, he continued, life endurance among people living with HIV/AIDS depends on the support from their closest family.

“Those living with HIV/AIDS who regularly take their medicines (ARV) can reduce their medicine (ARV) can reduce the risk of virus transmission. So, please do not blame and stigmatise them,” said Pungut.

Meanwhile, a Sentani resident Edison Sineri agrees that parents have a significant role in preventing their children from behaviours that likely lead to the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexual diseases.

“Currently, young people are easily get involved in promiscuity that difficult to control by parents. It possibly leads them to negative behaviours.” (*)

 

Reporter: Yance Wenda

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Lawyers question commitment over Papuan political prisoners’ right

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Three of seven Papuan political prisoners. – Jubi/Piter Lokon

Nabire, Jubi – The Papua Coalition for Law Enforcement and Human Rights urges the attorney general to fulfil the right of health for seven political prisoners detained in Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur and consider it as a neglection of the prisoners’ rights.

“We release this statement after one of our clients experienced vomiting blood. He had an internal disease issue,” said the Coordinator Emanuel Gobay on Friday (24/1/2020).

The coalition team asks the Papuan Attorney General’s commitment to providing the right of health to the prisoners as previously promised. It never occurred. Indeed, the Attorney General has neglected their family’s right to visit.

“If the seven detainees were in Papua, of course, their family can come to visit and find an alternative for health treatment.

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Therefore, Gobay urges the Attorney General of Papua to recall the seven political prisoners to Jayapura. He said the security issue is no longer relevant as a reason to allocate their trial outside of Papua.

“It is unfair (for the seven detainees) referred that all the trial hearings of anti-racism case held in Papua. All those trials are going well and safe,” asserted Gobay.

Meanwhile, a coalition member Oktovianus Tabuni added that in principle the seven political prisoners are respecting their legal process. However, they want to have their trial in Papua.

“The principle of a trial is to have a timely and low-cost process. Do not let it (the trial) float up like what has been happening now,” said Tabuni. (*)

 

Reporter: Titus Ruban

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Autonomy budget cut off, Jayawijaya Government reduce supplementary feeding budget

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Photo illustration of milk. -Pixabay.com

Wamena, Jubi – The Government of Jayawijaya Regency has reduced the number of schools to receive funding on the Supplementary Feeding Program (PMTAS). The reduction relates to the Special Autonomy Funds cut off for the PON (the National Games) 2020

Nurlili, an official at the Jayawijaya Village Community Empowerment Office (DPMK), said last year the program was running in five schools in Napua, Maima, Musaftaf, Wita Waya and Wadangku subdistricts.

“There allocate for only two schools this year because of the budget cut off for the PON. We depend on the Special Autonomy Funds for this program,” Nurlili said in Wamena on Tuesday (21/1/2020).

In 2020, the local government plans to implement the program in four sub-districts, namely Asolokobal, Wesaput, Muliama and Tagime. “But, Muliama and Tagime sub-districts are a bit far, so we decided to implement the program in the zone two, namely in SD YPPK Hepuba in Asolokobal Sub-district and SD Inpres Wesaput in Wesaput Subdistrict,” he said.

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The budget allocation for PMTAS Year 2020 reduced from IDR 857 million to IDR 468 million.

However, Nurlili hopes that in February they can conduct training for teachers and women at sub-districts and village levels on healthy food for children.

“At the end of the training, we will purchase some items that are not available in sub-districts and villages to deliver in March. They will be cooking food for the pupils, and we will monitor its implementation. There will be a payment for the cooks, but they should submit the report first,” he said.

In addition to food ingredients, the local government also provides cash for schools to purchase some food from the local markets to help the cash flow of villages and sub-districts.

“This program is very critical because President Jokowi has instructed us to decrease stunting among children. Therefore, we allocate the PMTAS for the primary school children because it is their growth period,” he said. (*)

 

Source: ANTARA

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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