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Indonesia's Papua Province Urge Calm After Online Racist Tensions

January 27, 2021, 06.10 AM – Officials in the Indonesian province of Papua are calling for the Papuan public to remain calm, after a racist slur aimed at Papuan-born former Commissioner for the National Commissioner of Human Rights [Komnas HAM] Natalius Pigai made the rounds of social media.

“[The Papuan Provincial Administration] urges the Papuan people not to be provoked by a racially-charged social posting from Volunteers for [President] Joko Widodo and [Vice-President] Ma’ruf Amin or Pro-Jamin head Ambroncius Nababan,” said Administration spokesman Jery Yudianto.

Speaking to the Antara state news agency on Tuesday, January 26, he urged the Papuan public to be “more wise in expressing themselves on social media, particularly on [postings] related to race. They should trust the police, and not react the same way as they did in the past.”

Papua Regional Police head Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw confirmed that the police will arraign Ambroncius as the prime suspect behind the racial attack on Natalius.

Also read: Two Indonesian Soldiers Killed in Firefight Against Papuan Insurgents

“We have reported [Ambroncius] to the National Police, and we are authorized to arrest the perpetrators, among them the people who disseminated the slander on social media.”

Meanwhile, the Jakarta Metropolitan Police’s Criminal Investigation Agency or Bareskrim forcefully detained Ambroncius, after the police declared him as a prime suspect behind the incident.

They also took over the investigation from their Papuan counterparts, after they determined that Ambroncius lived in the Jakarta area. The Police also continued their investigation in spite of the Pro-Jamin head’s apology for his stunt. Investigators have 24 hours to press charges against him.

Also read: Insurgents Burn Missionary Plane in Indonesia's Papua Province

Ambroncius apologized to Natalius, and denied that he aimed to insult Papua or its people. “[The slur] was aimed solely at Natalius for his opposition to the mass Covid-19 vaccination program. Besides, the whole issue was meant to be a satire,” he maintained.

“[The satire] was meant to be a joke, not as a way to insult others, especially if their ethnicity and beliefs are different.”

Natalius reported Ambroncius after the latter posted the slur on Facebook. However, Natalius shared Amoroncius’s slight towards him on his Twitter feed, in a bid to expose and shame him.

Ambroncius also apologized to President Jokowi for his indiscretion, and pledged to take responsibility for his actions if he was caught. If found guilty, he faces up to five years in jail.

(Writer: Devina Halim | Editors: Dheri Agriesta, Icha Rastika, Kristian Erdianto)



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