Deadly Clashes Erupt in Wamena, Papua Over Hoax Child Kidnapping: 10 Dead, Several Injured -
Deadly clashes erupted in Wamena, Papua on Thursday, February 23, 2023. The incident reportedly resulted in the deaths of 10 people and left several military and police personnel injured.

What caused the unrest in Wamena? What is the latest update on the incident? Here is the information.

Chronology of the Riots in Wamena, Papua

Papua Police Public Relations Division Chief, Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo, recounted the beginning of the unrest. It all started when a grocery seller's vehicle was stopped by two residents in Sinakma, Wamena City, Jayawijaya Regency, on Thursday (23/2/2023) at around 12:30 WIT. The vehicle was stopped because it was suspected of kidnapping a child.

"Then the police received this information. The Wamena Police Chief immediately went to the scene to negotiate with the masses and then asked for the issue to be resolved at the police station," Benny said, as quoted by detikSulsel on Thursday (23/2/2023).

During the negotiations at the Wamena Police Station, a group of people shouted and then attacked the police officers, which triggered a confrontation between the masses and the police.

"It was then responded to by requesting the reinforcement of the Brimob and Kodim forces. Chaos was avoided from there," said Benny.

In addition to attacking the officers, the masses also set fire to kiosks owned by residents in Sinakma. People around the incident area were frightened and tried to save themselves from the masses' rampage.

"The person who was accused of kidnapping the child is currently in custody at the police station. At that time, the masses also disagreed and demanded that he be released to be punished. Of course, this is not justified," he added.

Clashes erupted in Wamena, Papua on Thursday, February 23, 2023. The incident resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians. So, what caused the Wamena riots? (Photo: Special)

A group of people attacked Wamena City in Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Mountains by burning several kiosks and attacking police officers. They did this because of the rumor of child kidnapping.

10 People Dead, 18 TNI-Polri Personnel Injured

Papua Police Chief Inspector General Mathius D Fakhiri said that 10 civilians died as a result of the riots. In addition, 14 people were injured, and 13 homes were burned during the unrest.

"So, these 10 fatalities, two of them were victims of the masses' rampage, while the other eight were members of the mob," said Fakhiri.

Reportedly, 18 TNI-Polri personnel were also injured following the riots in Wamena.

"As a result of the incident in Wamena, there were 18 injured personnel, 16 of whom were hit by stones and 2 were hit by arrows, namely 1 police officer and 1 TNI member. And we have asked for this to be dealt with immediately," said Fakhiri.

Child Kidnapping Rumor Confirmed to be a Hoax

After conducting a series of investigations, the police confirmed that the rumor of child kidnapping was not true. The allegation of child kidnapping against the grocery seller was unfounded and a hoax.

"We know that the incident in Wamena yesterday started with a hoax information that reported the kidnapping of an underage child, an elementary school child, which was responded to by members of the Jayawijaya Police to immediately handle it," said Papua Police Chief Inspector General Mathius Fakhiri to reporters in Timika on Friday (24/2).


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