Student killed in fresh violence in Indonesia's Papua

A photo taken on Aug 30 shows torched shops in Jayapura in Indonesia's Papua province. Anti-government protests began in the region on Aug 19 over the alleged racist treatment of native Papuans.
A photo taken on Aug 30 shows torched shops in Jayapura in Indonesia's Papua province. Anti-government protests began in the region on Aug 19 over the alleged racist treatment of native Papuans.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (DPA) - One university student was killed and several others injured in the latest violence to hit Indonesia's Papua province, where unrest has grown over the alleged racist treatment of native Papuans.

The student, identified as Michel, died of gunshot wounds after a crowd attacked a dormitory in the provincial capital Jayapura on Sunday (Sept 1), said Mr Yones Douw, an activist with the Kingmi Evangelical Church Synod in Papua.

"Three students were shot, one of them fatally," Mr Douw told dpa by phone.

He said others were injured as a result of machete attacks.

Police could not be immediately reached for comment. Jubi.com, an independent news website in Papua, reported that Michael and the other students were shot when police tried to intervene in the clashes.

"We will demand police to be held responsible," a representative representing the victim's family was quoted as saying by Jubi.com.

The Indonesian government sent 2,500 police officers to Papua over the weekend to try to stem the unrest.

Tensions between indigenous Papuans and migrants from other parts of the country have been rising since indigenous protesters torched government buildings and a shopping centre on Thursday.

 
 
 

A day earlier, a soldier and two civilians were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters in the region's Deiyai district, authorities said, while activists said that seven civilians were killed.

The anti-government protests began on Aug 19 following perceived heavy-handed and racist treatment of Papuan students by security forces on the main Java island.

The government has imposed an Internet blackout since Aug 21 in an attempt to restore order in the region after mobs torched buildings during protests involving thousands of people in the neighbouring province of West Papua.

On Aug 17, police forced their way into a Papuan student dormitory in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, and briefly detained 43 students for allegedly desecrating an Indonesian flag.

The mainly Melanesian Papua and West Papua provinces make up the Indonesian half of New Guinea island.