Jayapura, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police officers and five Papua independent fighters were killed in a continuous clash between security forces and rebels in Papua, officials said Wednesday.
The clash began earlier this month in Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, after rebels fired at several schools and shot dead two teachers in Beoga village in the Puncak district.
Police, military, and intelligence forces worked together to find an attacker that authorities believed belonged to the West Papua Liberation Army, the military arm of the Free Papua Movement.
Papua’s rebels have fought low-level rebellions since the early 1960s, when Indonesia merged the former Dutch colony. Papua was officially incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a UN-sponsored ballot, which was considered fake by many.
Papua police chief Mathius Fakhiri said a joint military and police force killed five Papua fighters in a battle with dozens of rebels armed with military weapons and axes and arrows in the village of Macki on Tuesday. Stated. He said police officers were shot dead in his stomach and two others were injured.
Security forces evacuated the body to a hospital near the Mimika district near the mining town of Tembagapura on Tuesday, injuring police officers, according to Fakiri.
Liberation Army spokesman Seby Sambom, who had previously confirmed police claims, changed his statement after receiving up-to-date information from West Papua’s PLA commander, Rekagak Terengen. I was a civilian.
“There are no casualties on our side. This is all a public deception,” Sambun said. “Indonesian security forces attacked several villages in the Puncak district, shot dead villagers, and killed and injured many.”
The clash on Tuesday occurred two days after Chief Brig of Papua’s intelligence agency. General Gusti Putu Danny Nugraha was shot in the head and died in a rebel ambush. The ambush occurred when the general was patrolling the village of Dumbet in the Punchak district on a motorcycle with 13 other personnel after rebels fired at the village’s primary school and homes.
President Joko Widodo ordered government troops to hunt down rebels.
“I emphasize that there is no place for armed crime groups in Papua and every corner of the country,” Widodo said in a statement televised Monday.
Attacks by rebels in several parts of Papua, including the Grasberg mine, have skyrocketed over the past year.
The vast gold and copper reserves of the Grasberg mine have been abused by US-based Freeport-McMoran for decades, causing significant tax revenues to the Indonesian government and damaging the surrounding environment. I have given it.
However, indigenous Papuans receive little benefit and are poorer, sick, and more likely to die younger than people elsewhere in Indonesia.
Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.