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Police kill one in Papua as mob attacks over govt aid JAYAPURA - fter being denied government assistance, dozens of Papuans went on a rampage Friday, burning government offices and clashing with police officers. Police opened fire on the mob after they set fire to a post office and the Puncak Jaya regency council building in Mulia city at about 1 p.m. One person was killed and four others injured. The deceased has been identified as Lirius Tabuni.

The violence began after dozens of people were denied Rp 300,000 cash payments from the government. The money was being distributed to offset the financial impact of fuel price increases. According to officials, the people in question were not eligible for the money because they did not possess official cash assistance cards.

The situation quickly deteriorated, as they attacked the Mulia post office and dozens of nearby private residences. The mob then moved to the regency council building, which they burned to the ground. Police officers deployed to the scene opened fire to regain control of the situation. Papua Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Max Donald Aer said the rampaging mob left officers no choice but open fire before any more damage was done.

"The residents who did not possess the cards entitling them to the cash assistance went on the attack," he said. There were no immediate reports of arrests in the case. He said police had taken control of the situation and calm had returned to Mulia. However, a platoon from the Papua Police's paramilitary Brimob unit has been deployed in the city to ensure there is no repeat of the violence.

Asked about the residents who did not have the cards entitling them to cash assistance, the marketing manager of postal company PT Pos Indonesia's Jayapura branch, Yohanes Untung, said the cards were issued on the authority of local statistics bureaus responsible for registering poor families. He said the postal company was only responsible for delivering the cash to those people already in possession of cards.

In Puncak Jaya regency, 22,286 residents are eligible for the cash assistance, amounting to more than Rp 6.6 billion (US$726,717) in total. This was just the latest violent incident since the government began distributing the cash assistance earlier this year. In May, five people were injured in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, when a large crowd of people attempted to force their way into the city's post office. In Bandung regency, five people were arrested after dozens of residents vandalized a village administrative office during a dispute over the assistance.



Posted in Violence @ 15 October 2006 11:43 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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