Bags of snakes thrown into Papuan student dorm 

Papuan students in Java say two bags of snakes were thrown into their dormitory as the unrest in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces began to reduce.

The students in Surabaya, East Java, said four people on motorbikes threw the bags of snakes into their dormitory.

The Papuans from the resource-rich western part of the island of New Guinea told the media that one of the snakes weighed more than 15kg.

“We feel intimidation, terror and fear because three aggressive snakes have not been found,” said Yohanes Giyai, who has been at the dormitory for three weeks.”We hope there will be no victims.”

Police in Papua say they have arrested 85 suspects since violent demonstrations broke out in mid-August. They also accused the separatist representative, Benny Wenda, who is in exile in Oxford, of fomenting the worst violence in years. 

National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said Wenda had provided funding for his supporters and instructed them to organise mass gatherings and prepare weapons. 

In reality, the riots were sparked by videos of Papuan students at the Surabaya dormitory being called “monkeys” and “dogs” by raiding police officers in August.   

Video of this week’s attack on the same dormitory showed a large snake still curled up inside a plastic bag and another in a cage.

Andy Irfan, a lawyer with the Federation of Kontras, which provides legal assistance to the victims of violence, confirmed the incident.

Irfan said many of the 60 students living in the compound had returned to Papua and West Papua provinces following earlier attacks.

“Do not be provoked because there are other parties trying to heat up the situation,” said East Java police commissioner Frans Barung Mangera. 

He said his officers had been guarding the building for the last month and was questioned about how it could have happened without police knowledge.

“The police always monitor the dormitory. But that doesn’t mean guaranteeing security for the students,” Irfan said, without explaining the statement.

Students have said they feel the police surveillance is a form of intimidation rather than protection.

In February a UN panel called for an investigation into violence, unlawful arrest and mistreatment after video emerged of police officers using a snake to torture a handcuffed Papuan teenager.

It has also been reported that student activist, Surya Anta, has been detained in isolation at the Mako Brimob jail where the Indonesian national anthem and nationalist songs are constantly played.


Picture credit: YouTube