20 Oct 2017

Tension lingers in Papua's Tolikara after election

12:53 pm on 20 October 2017

Tensions remain high in Tolikara in West Papua's Highlands amid ongoing election-related unrest.

Tolikara is one of a number of regencies in Indonesia's Papua province that have conducted local-level elections this month.

The regent of Tolikara, Usman Wanimbo

The regent of Tolikara, Usman Wanimbo Photo: Ronny Hisage

Discord between supporters of various Tolikara candidates repeatedly boiled over into rioting or fighting in recent weeks.

It even spread to the national capital Jakarta, where dozens of supporters of one losing candidate attacked the office of the Home Affairs Ministry.

Supporters of John Tabo hurled projectiles at the building and ministry vehicles in protest at the re-election of Usman Wanimbo as regent.

Two people were seriously injured.

Police are maintaining a heightened security alert in Tolikara itself, where authorities have urged all candidates to calm their supporters.

Earlier this week, up to 500 police and army officers stood guard during Mr Wanimbo's inauguration in Papua's capital, Jayapura.