Asia PacificNews

Indonesia Deploys Troops to West Papua as Protests Spread

Police hunt for 250 inmates who escaped torched prison

Indonesia has deployed more troops to the restive West Papua, as demonstrations continue to spread to several communities in the region, with reports of injuries.

Authorities are also on the hunt for more than 250 inmates who escaped a prison in the province of West Papua, when prison break happened Monday as protesters took to the streets in several cities blocking roads, and torching buildings including the jail.

The unrest was triggered by the detention of Papuan students in the city of Surabaya over accusations they had disrespected the Indonesian flag.

Thousands of Papuans took the streets of cities including Sorong, Manokwari and Jayapura and the prison, in Sorong, was set ablaze and rocks were thrown at prisoners, said justice ministry spokeswoman Marlien Lande.

“258 inmates escaped and only five of them had returned by this morning,” Ms Lande said, adding that several guards and employees were injured as they tried to stop the escape.

Local media also reported that the angry protesters destroyed the Domine Eduard Osok Airport forcing airlines to cancel the rest of the flights to Sorong.

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