Police warn papua airport blockers

Police warn papua airport blockers

The Jakarta Post

Papua Police have continued attempts to negotiate with dozens of local residents who have been blocking entry to a small airport in Kapeso district in Mamberamo Raya regency since Sunday.

“We are still negotiating, asking them to open the airport,” Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Bagus Ekodanto said as quoted by tempointerakif.com.

The police have yet to ascertain a motive behind the airport closure by some 150 residents, Bagus said.

“They said they want to communicate their demands, but we have no certainty yet. We are still having difficulty contacting them.”

The police had received information that the airport blockers included members of the Free Papua Organization (OPM), a separatist group that has been been fighting for Papuan independence since the early 1960s, Bagus said.

If negotiation fails, police would take the airport closure very seriously and punish those responsible to the full extent of the law, he warned.

The police have sent personnel to the district, some 490 kilometers from the Papua capital, Jayapura. (dre)