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Indonesia blocks internet access to restore situation in rioting Fakfak

Christian Fernsby |
Indonesia's Communications and Informatics Ministry (Kominfo) blocked on Wednesday the internet access in eastern provinces of Papua and West Papua, aimed at accelerating process to restore peace and order in those provinces which have been plagued with riots.

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he move to block the internet access in the two provinces was following a new riot in West Papua's Fakfak regency earlier in the day.

"The Kominfo decided to temporarily block internet services starting from Wednesday until the situation in Papua land is considered back to normal," a statement issued by the Kominfo said.

The policy to block the internet access has been coordinated with related institutions, the statement said.

Kominfo Spokesperson Ferdinandus Setu said the internet access blockade was conducted gradually from 08:00 local Papua time, which is 2 hours earlier than that in Jakarta.

The riot in Fakfak regency occurred since the morning. The rioting mass burned down a market in the city.

Police shot tear gas at the rioting crowds and blocked road access to Fakfak in a bid to prevent rioting mass extending their acts to other areas, reports said.

The riot had paralyzed economic activities in the regency. The situation in Fakfak was following riots previously occurred in the two provinces' cities of Manokwari, Jayapura and Sorong on Monday.

The riots broke following the arrest of Papuan students in Surabaya, coupled with disrespect statements that came out during Papua students' event to commemorate Papua referendum in Malang last week that ended up in commotion.

Indonesian authorities have released 43 Papuan students on Sunday after arrested them on Friday related to vandalism of national flag incident in Surabaya.

Massive spread of hoaxes and false information in social media related to the arrest in Surabaya and event in Malang have prompted the riots, Indonesian Police Chief Tito Karnavian said on Monday.

To respond police's findings, Kominfo has slowed down the internet access in the two provinces on Monday to curb spread of hoaxes through the internet.

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