Indonesian police investigate violent protests in Papua, West Papua hinh anh 1A riot in Indonesia (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian police said on September 2 that they have been investigating possible foreign involvement in violent protests in Papua and West Papua provinces since August 19.

President Joko Widodo has ordered the police to look into the acts of racism against the Papuan students as well as take firm action against the groups responsible for the subsequent violent protests in the localities.

National Police Chief Tito Karnavian said the groups have links to an international network.

According to National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Mohammad Iqbal, an investigation is already underway to follow up on initial information related to foreign involvement in a series of incidents on the islands of Java and Papua in the past two weeks.

The police have mapped out the groups who drove racial discrimination and violent protests, he said.

Earlier, another National Police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo, said an investigation, jointly conducted by the National Police, the National Intelligence Agency and the National Cyber and Encryption Agency, had discovered 1,750 Facebook and Twitter accounts that had been the source of 32,000 fake news articles and provocative content about the current security situation in Papua. Some of these accounts were operated from overseas.

The findings were already reported to the Communication and Informatics Ministry. All of the fake news articles have been deleted from Facebook and Twitter.

Some 6,000 extra personnel have been deployed to Papua and West Papua to regain control.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian and Military Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto had set up office in Papua since September 2, and they would stay on the island until the security situation returns to normal.

The Directorate General of Immigration on September 2 announced that it deported four Australian nationals, aged 25-37, for their participation in pro-independence protests in Papua on August 27.

Thousands of people, mostly students, take to the streets to protest against racism and discrimination. The protestors blocked roads and destroyed seven state agencies. Police said the riots caused an estimated 4.9 million USD in asset loss.

Indonesia took control of Papua, former colony of the Netherlands, in 1969 following a vote patronised by the United Nations. Papuan locals’ practice and culture are radically different from the remaining parts of Indonesia.-VNA