Nine communities were noted in the address. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu)

Joko's Visit to Papua Unchanged Despite Attack


DECEMBER 28, 2015

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo will not cancel plans to visit the province of Papua after a police station in the restive province was attacked by armed assailants, killing three police officers, a senior government official confirmed on Monday.

“Despite the shooting, which led to the deaths of three police officers, the president has not changed his intentions to celebrate New Year in Papua,” Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said at the state palace, as quoted by Tempo.

The Indonesian Military [TNI] in Papua, which is handling the security detail of Joko's three-day visit, have deemed the towns Joko plans to visit — Merauke, Wamena and Raja Ampat — safe and secure.

“This [shooting] will be taken into consideration but the president is sure it will be dealt with and has confidence in the TNI's security assessment,” Pramono said.

He added that Joko is further convinced spending New Year's Eve in Papua would prove the government's commitment to developing the resource-rich but severely underdeveloped province.

The Sinak subdistrict police station in Papua's Puncak district was attacked by a barrage of gunfire at 8.45 p.m. on Sunday, police said.

Three police officers manning the station were killed in the incident and another officer wounded. Several assailants then broke in to the headquarters' armory, stealing seven assault riffles and a crate of ammunition.

Police sent a joint team which included 30 officers from the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) to Sinak using a Twin Otter airplane operated by Trigana on Monday morning.

National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Suharsono said the pilot cancelled his landing after hearing what he believed were gunshots. Suharsono said it is not yet known what the pilot heard, but maintained they were not shots being fired.

"The plane eventually landed [in Sinak] and the officers are on the scene," Suharsono said.

The plane returned from Sinak to transport the four victims of the shooting.

The remains of the slain officers — First. Brig. Ridho, Second. Brig. Arman and Second Brig. Ilham — are being taking to the homes of their families in Maluku, Papua and West Papua respectively.