3 May 2021

Internet cut in Papua as military operations intensify

3:17 pm on 3 May 2021

As military operations intensify in West Papua, internet services to the capital of Indonesia's Papua province have been cut.

The telecommunication company, PT Telkom Indonesia, has confirmed that internet service in Jayapura was disrupted on Friday night.

Arrival of more Indonesian troops in Jayapura, Papua, March 2021

Arrival of more Indonesian troops in Jayapura, Papua, March 2021 Photo: Supplied

It said the disruption was due to disconnection of the Sulawesi Maluku Papua Cable System at the Biak-Sarmi line.

This has hampered the flow of information regarding the pursuit of West Papua Liberation Army guerilla fighters by Indonesian security forces.

The conflict escalated following the killing of a top Indonesian intelligence official, Brigadier General I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, in Papua's central highlands eight days ago.

A faction of the West Papua Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the killing.

In announcing the general's death at a news conference in Jakarta last Monday, Indonesian president Joko Widodo vowed a military crackdown in Papua.

Last Thursday, police claimed that 10 people - nine Papuan fighters and one police officer - were killed in a gunfight in Puncak district.

A spokesperson for PT Telkom Indonesia apologised for the disruption to internet services, saying the company was working to restore services to Jayapura.

In 2019, the government shut down internet service in Papua region during weeks of protests and deadly unrest between August and September that year.

An Indonesian court subsequently ruled the government violated the law by doing so.