Indonesia sending soldiers to build highway in tense Papua

TIMIKA, Indonesia — Hundreds of Indonesian soldiers will be deployed to continue work on the trans Papua highway, the military said Friday, after civilian workers fled the landmark development project that's become a target for attacks by Papuan independence fighters.

The military spokesman for Indonesia's easternmost Papua region, Muhummad Aidi, said that construction through the mountainous jungle interior of Papua from Wamena to Merauke will continue despite the series of attacks. He said the deployment of 600 military personnel will be in stages.

Some 19 people including one soldier died in a Dec. 2 attack, and three soldiers who were part of a contingent to provide security for military engineers were killed Thursday.

"On Dec. 2, we all know that there was a heinous massacre," Aidi told reporters. "No more workers dare to work there."

Since November, at least 31 people have died in the conflict not counting unconfirmed civilian deaths that Papuan activists say occurred during Indonesian military operations.

An insurgency has simmered in Papua, which makes up the western half of the island of New Guinea, since the early 1960s when Indonesia annexed the Dutch-controlled territory.

Discrimination against indigenous Papuans and abuses by Indonesian police and military have drawn renewed attention globally as Indonesia campaigns for membership in the U.N.'s human rights watchdog.

Indonesia says the trans Papua highway will bring development to the volatile region but independence activists, who want a referendum on self determination, see the infrastructure development as a way for Jakarta to cement control.

Aidi said 21 of the 32 bridges needed for the highway still need to be built and the military's engineering force will be responsible for completing them.

"The government wants to open what is in isolation so that the social security program can touch the people there and then build more schools and health facilities and turn the wheel of the economy," he said.

Indonesia forest threatened by development...

Aug 23, 2017

An Indonesian company and its Chinese partner are pushing ahead with an industrial wood plantation...

Freeport to cut stake in Indonesia mine after...

Aug 29, 2017

Indonesia is allowing Freeport-McMoRan to continue operating a giant gold and copper mine after the...

Indonesia president urges military to stay out of...

Oct 5, 2017

Indonesia's president has urged the military to stay out of politics and remain loyal to the...

Indonesia says Papua villages in standoff with...

Nov 17, 2017

Indonesian police help evacuate more than 340 people from villages in easternmost Papua after...

Bali volcano ash drifts 4.7 miles high, airport...

Nov 29, 2017

An erupting volcano with a deadly history on Indonesia's Bali island has spread drifting ash 7,600...

Top News
What's Trending
Penggerak pasaran mengikut TradingView

About Us

Duniaga is Malaysia’s top local source for business news and information where people head to stay connected with the business news. We give daily in-depth analysis on the business happenings in the country.

Subscribe Now!