The chief of Papua Police, Insp. Gen. Yotje Mende, said on Friday that the suspects were being questioned over their alleged role in the violence, which was apparently sparked by the killing of a local tribal leader.
“Of the 15 people, six are suspected of having carried out the murders — we have the evidence,” Yotje said. “The other nine were apprehended for carrying sharp weapons,” he added.
Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Pudjo Sulistyo said earlier in the week that people had been killed when the Apri Poros hamlet in Mimika district was attacked late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, apparently in retaliation for the death of Dani tribal leader Korea Wakar, whose body was found in a river on Monday.
Yotje said on Friday that the situation in Timika had returned to normal.
“The situation is under control and there are no mass gatherings,” he said, adding however that some schools in the area were still closed for security reasons.
To prevent further clashes, Yotje said police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) had intensified patrols in some conflict-prone areas around Timika.
Police said they were also talking with local leaders.
“There are dialogues with local religious and cultural leaders, as well as other elements of society, and they can urge people to not let themselves be provoked by irresponsible parties,” Yotje said.
Yotje said on Friday that a total of seven people were killed in the early hours of Wednesday: three native Papuans and four immigrants.