Kiosk traders lose buyers following mass riot in Sinakma

Kiosk traders
Dozens of kiosks in Sinakma Wamena are still closed due to lack of buyers - Jubi/Imma Pelle

Wamena, Jubi – Kiosk traders in Sinakma, Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, Mountainous Papua Province, admitted that their income has dropped since the riot on February 23, 2023, following a rumor of child abduction. At that time, they chose to temporarily close their kiosks.

One of the sellers, Tikka Setya Ningrum, revealed her turnover used to reach Rp 3 to 5 million a day if the kiosk was crowded with buyers. But since the incident, the sales turnover in a day is only around Rp 500,000.

“In fact, one day I only earned Rp 300,000. Getting Rp 700,000 is very difficult,” she said when met by Jubi at her kiosk on Monday morning, February 23.

Ningrum explained that the main cause of the decline in turnover was because people were still traumatized to shop in the Sinakma area after the riot and prefer to shop in Wamena city.

In addition, said Ningrum, indigenous Papuans made a rule that prohibited non-Papuans like her from selling areca nuts at kiosks.

ÔÇťAreca nuts are our best sellers. However, we also understand and comply with the request of the community. We don’t want clashes to occur,” she said.

Ningrum added that with this condition, the traders are very overwhelmed and find it difficult to fulfill their daily needs, including paying rent.

“There are still many traders who choose to close their stalls or not sell for the time being,” she said.

Kiosk traders
Dozens of kiosks in Sinakma Wamena are still closed due to lack of buyers JubiImma Pelle

Ningrum hoped the people could understand that both indigenous Papuans and non-Papuans like herself were civilians and victims, who were disadvantaged by the mass riot a month ago.

“We should have understood each other and worked together. But if the community forbids

us to sell areca nuts, we can do nothing but obey,” he said.

Ningrum hopes the government will provide assistance to victims fairly. “Indigenous Papuans and non Papuans are both victims. The government needs to pay attention to us non Papuans kiosk sellers too. We ask the local government to be fair,” she said. (*)

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