Fifth-grader Eikman Songgonao from the SD Inpres state elementary school in Kwamki Lama in Mimika, Papua, has not been to school since tribal clashes erupted last week.“My friends and I want to go back to school, but we’re terrified of the fighting still taking place in Kwamki Lama,” Songgonao told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He appealed to the upper and lower Kwamki Lama tribes involved in the conflict to immediately cease hostilities so the students could return to school. The feud is blamed on the failure of one of the tribes to pay compensation for a rape allegedly committed by a member of the rival tribe six months ago. “Students from both warring tribes have missed out on school, and some have even joined their parents in the fighting,” Songgonao said during a visit by Mimika and Papua legislators.

“I’ve asked my parents to stop their involvement in the conflict.”

The school has been closed for the past week, following the tribal clashes that often play out right in front of the schoolyard.

Songgonao said teachers were no longer willing to come to Kwamki Lama due to the conflict.

“I don’t know when this war will end. I’m very sad about the situation in Kwamki Lama,” he said.

“The warring groups, those who still have family ties, must immediately stop the conflict.”

Songgonao added he had earlier taken part in the fighting, while his friends were still engaged in it.

Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Moh. Sagi said police had tried to mediate in the dispute.

Police have cordoned off the main battleground and posted personnel in the area. Both warring groups, previously armed with bows and arrows, have since laid down their arms, and for the most part the attacks had ceased over the weekend.

“Councilors from the Mimika and Papua legislatures are here today to meet both communities in an effort to stop the conflict,” Sagi said.

“I hope the groups are able to end the hostilities and seek a peaceful way to reach a peace agreement.”

Mimika councilor Elminus Mom, from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), said the regency legislature had been trying to forge a peaceful resolution for the past week.

“As a native of Kwamki Lama and a tribal member sitting in the legislature, I urge the groups to end the fighting today,” he said.

“The Mimika and Papua councilors will only be here today and are waiting for the two to make peace.”
Mimika councilor Pieter Magal, from the Democratic Party, echoed the call.

“I’m present and standing here now to urge the people to stop the fighting,” he said, adding he himself was from the local Amungme tribe.

Upper Kwamki Lama battle leader Yulianus Agabal said he was open to the reconciliation efforts by the regency and provincial councilors.

“We accept every effort made by the Mimika and Papua legislators to end the conflict,” he said.

“As the victims, we will meet with the lower Kwamki Lama group to discuss ending the conflict immediately.”

Source : The Jakarta Post