President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo seen during a visit to Arfak Mountain district in West Papua on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Press Bureau)

Jokowi Visits Papua in First Official Trip After His Inauguration

BY :ANTARA

OCTOBER 27, 2019

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited several districts in West Papua and Papua on Sunday – his first since unrest broke out in Indonesia's two easternmost provinces in August.

It was also his first official visit since his inauguration for a second term on Oct. 20.

A helicopter carrying the president arrived in Arfak Mountain district at around 9.30 a.m. local time. He was accompanied by first lady Iriana, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian and Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljanto.

"I come here at the request of the district head and the governor, to take a firsthand look at the district. Of course, the district head and the governor want development in Arfak district," Jokowi told residents gathered at the town square, where he was welcomed with a traditional dance performance in the morning.

Antara reported that residents had started gathering at the square at 5.30 a.m. to wait for his arrival.

"I have listened to all proposals by the district head, and infrastructure development, particularly roads, must commence immediately, so agricultural products from here can be distributed to Manokwari or other provinces," Jokowi said.

The president said on his Twitter account that thousands of people had showed up for the gathering.

He spent about an hour in the district before proceeding to Manokwari – the provincial capital – and Kaimana district, before ending his trip in Papua's Jayawijaya district.

The two provinces experienced weeks of unrest triggered by widely reported incidents of racial abuse of Papuan students in East Java. 

President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo takes a selfie with residents during his visit to Kaimana district in West Papua on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Press Bureau)
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo takes a selfie with residents during his visit to Kaimana district in West Papua on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Press Bureau)

At least 30 people were killed in riots in several districts, most notably Wamena and Jayapura, while many Papuan students left their campuses in Java in protest of unverified abuse. Thousands of non-Papuan residents also requested government assistance to be evacuated from the restive districts.

Although order has largely been restored, sporadic violence continues. Three motorcycle taxi drivers transporting passengers were killed by an armed group in Intan Jaya district, Papua, on Saturday. The authorities believe the gunmen were led by separatist leader Lekagak Telenggen.

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