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May 11, 2021, 02.25 AM – Police in the Indonesian province of Papua has arrested Victor Yeimo, a Papuan agitator affiliated with the Free Papua Movement who has been suspected of masterminding riot in the restive territory between August to September 2019.

“The Nemangkawi Task Force captured Victor at the provincial capital Jayapura on Sunday, where he has been at large since September 2020,” said Papua Regional Police chief Inspector General Mathius D. Fakhiri on Monday, May 10.

“Victor is wanted [for the September 2019 unrest] as well as a number of offenses,” he added without specifying the charges. “He can grow old behind bars while we process the legal cases against him.”

Nemangkawi Task Force head Police Grand Commissioner Iqbal Alqudusy reiterated Fakhiri.

Also read: Armed Criminal Groups Have No Place in Papua

“As the head of the National Committee of West Papua [KNPB], Victor was known as an agitator who made inflammatory speeches and masterminded a number of protests in Papua,” he said, as quoted by the Antara state news agency.

“A number of witnesses said he agitated for Papuan independence and inflamed the public into causing widespread damage.”

Indonesian authorities charged Victor with treason, spreading misinformation, as well as defaming symbols of state in his role in the September 2019 unrest. If found guilty, he faces five to 15 years in prison, and fines of up to Rp. 500 million [$35,266.40].

Also read: Indonesian Intelligence Official Shot Dead in Papua

The 2019 protests were caused by the racist treatment of 43 Papuan university students in Surabaya, East Java by Indonesian police and the Pemuda Pancasila [PP] and Islamic Defenders Front or FPI, after the authorities charged the students with insulting the Indonesian flag.

The resulting unrest, which also brought about calls for a referendum on Papuan independence, broke out in cities and towns throughout the provinces of Papua and West Papua such as Jayapura, Sorong and Wamena, as well as other parts of Indonesia.

The protests left more than 30 killed, injured hundreds of others and damaged government facilities as well as other buildings.

(Writer: Dhias Suwandi, Jayapura Contributor | Editors: Michael Hangga Wismabrata, Robertus Belarminus)


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