Jayapura – Mimika District Police Chief Assistance Superintendent Victor Dean Mackbon has denied that residents of the Kimbely and Banti villages are being held hostage by an Armed Criminal Group (KKB).
Speaking to Tagar, he revealed that the situation in the villages of Kimbely and Banti is favourable and that local people’s movement is restricted simply because the villages are a basis for KKB [a term used by the authorities for the Free Papua Movement (OPM)].
“Who said people were taken hostage? No one has taken anyone hostage, the conditions in Banti are conducive, that area is indeed a basis for KKB, and communities are indeed restricted because if they want to leave they must do it via the Kimbely village”, he told Tagar by phone on Thursday November 9.
The Indonesian police are continuing to develop a dialogue with the KKB through local community and religious figures. “We are still developing dialogue with the groups through both community as well as religious figures so there won’t be any acts that disturb kamtibmas [public order and security]”, he said.
Mackbon said that up until now there have been no evacuation efforts and if there is a need police already have an evacuation plan in place.
“There hasn’t been any evacuation effort [although] indeed for the moment freedom of movement is restricted so if there is a need for an evacuation we’ve already drafted a plan for an evacuation, activities there are normal, [people are] buying goods as normal”, he said.
Earlier it was reported that a KKB has been intimidating and threatening communities in the Banti and Kimbely villages and local people have been prohibited from leaving by the criminal groups. (tri)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Kapolres Mimika Bantah Adanya Penyanderaan.]