Police seek people behind Papua poll violence

Mustaqim Adamrah , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA | Sat, 04/18/2009 2:21 PM | National

The National Police is intensifying the search for those responsible for a string of violent events that rocked Papua around election day.

The police has named five suspects who were allegedly involved in the arson attack on the rector’s building at the Cenderawasih University last Thursday, one of them identified by his initials as SW.

“We have learned that SW *is among those* who set fire to the Cenderawasih University. We’ve also known who ordered him,” National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said Friday at the State Palace.

“We’re chasing both SW and the man behind all of this.” he said.

He refused to disclose the alleged mastermind’s identity for fear it would disrupt the manhunt.

He brushed aside the role of any foreign party, on lack of evidence. But he insisted the series of violent events were aimed at disrupting the elections, particularly in Papua.

The police sent a special team on Thursday night to Tingginambut district in the Papua regency of Puncak Jaya to help local police investigate a shooting incident that left a Mobile Brigade police officer dead and six others injured, Wednesday.

The ambush of police capped a week of violence in Papua province, starting April 8, when a home-made bomb exploded under the Muara Tami bridge on the border between Papua and Papua New Guinea.

On Wednesday evening, unidentified assailants stabbed five motorcycle taxi drivers in Wamena district in Jayawijaya regency, leaving four dead and one in critical condition.

Hours before the voting last Thursday, a police post at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and the police station in Abepura area in Jayapura came under attack almost simultaneously.

The police shot into the crowd, killing one attacker and injuring eight others in Abepura. Six people have been named as suspects.

At daybreak, the rector’s building at Cendrawasih University near Abepura was set ablaze by unknown people, burning documents and damaging one of three floors.

Twelve people died in these violent incidents.

To help restore security and order in Papua, the South Sulawesi police sent Friday 105 Mobile Brigade personnel to the province. South Sulawesi police chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Salempang said the troops, led by Ad. Sr. Comr. Amiruddin, comprised bomb and riot specialists.

The order to back up the Papua police came from the National Police Headquarters only on Thursday evening. “We don’t know how bad the security condition in Papua is. We only execute the order from Jakarta,” Salempang said as he sent off the police elite force personnel.

The troops would have left Makassar later in the day on an Air Force transport aircraft.

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