Civil flights to Intan Jaya await clearance amidst tensions

Papua Regional Police Chief Inspector General Mathius Fakhiri in Jayapura City.- Jubi/Alexander Loen

Jayapura, Jubi – The Papua Police and the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command (Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih) have not yet endorsed civil aviation activities to Bilogai Airport in Sugapa, Intan Jaya Regency, Central Papua Province. Civil flights to Intan Jaya have been suspended since the escalation of armed conflict in the region on January 19, 2024.

“The Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police has not allowed civil flight activities to transport residents to Intan Jaya until the situation is conducive and under control of the local security forces,” said Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Mathius D Fakhiri on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

According to Fakhiri, the security forces are currently carrying out their duties to ensure security in Intan Jaya. These efforts are also being made to prepare for the 2024 General Election.

“The current situation is already more conducive than a few days ago. However, we have not recommended civil flights to Intan Jaya,” said Fakhiri.

On Thursday, the Field Operations Commander of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) of the Intan Jaya Defense Region, Obed Japugau, stated that they prohibit civil flights from landing aircraft in Intan Jaya. This is because the TPNPB believes that flights to Intan Jaya are often used to transport security forces and weapons.

The Commander of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command, Maj. Gen. Izak Pangemanan, stated that the TNI and police are currently working to normalize civil flights in Intan Jaya. Moreover, Intan Jaya is one of the isolated regions, with several areas more accessible by air transportation.

“Civil flights [within] one or two days [are expected] to return to normal because air transportation is one of the choices for the community,” said Izak.

Izak stated that they will continue to improve the security situation in Intan Jaya. “Security will continue to be our priority because we do not want the public to become victims, especially since air transportation access is crucial,” he said. (*)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *