Papuan Regional Police investigates acts of vandalism - Radical Islamic leader summoned

The leader of the Islamic militant group Laskar Jihat, Jafar Umar Thalib (JUT), and seven of his followers are under criminal investigation by the Papuan Regional Police. According to police chief  Martuani Sormin, the investigation was launched in relation to acts of vandalism on the 27 February 2019. JUT and his men had allegedly damaged several houses in the Muara Tami District of Jayapura Municipality. Local residents reacted angrily, burning tires and blocking roads in response to the incident. The police and the inter-religious forum in Jayapura reacted promptly to calm down the protesters in order to avoid an escalations of the conflict. Sormin did not make statements elaborating the involvement of JUT in the incident.

JUT moved to the Kerom Regency in 2015, where he started to build an islamic boarding school (pesantren) and carried out multiple activities promoting the spreading of Islam. The presence of JUT has lead to rejection and anxiety among many people in Kerom and Jayapura. Shortly his arrival in the Kerom Regency, local churches and human rights defenders documented various violent conflicts between Christians and Muslims in the Kerom Regency.