Police Officer Killed in Latest Papua Bloodshed

Armed violence in restive Papua claimed another victim on Monday (24/10) when two men gunned down a police officer in broad daylight at an airport in the central highland district of Puncak Jaya.

Mulia subdistrict police chief Adj. Comr. Dominggus Awes was shot dead on the apron of the airport in Mulia as he was monitoring the landing of a Christian Mission Aviation Fellowship aircraft at about 11:30 a.m., Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono said. Sources at the airport said the officer was waiting for a delivery.

“The Mulia subdistrict police chief Adj. Comr. Dominggus Awes was shot dead by armed separatists,” Wachyono said, adding that the officer was shot in the face and chest, and died on the spot.

Wachyono said that after the assailants pushed Dominggus to the ground, one of them held him down while the other took his handgun and shot him twice. The two men then fled into the forest near the airport, taking the gun with them.

Papua has long been home to a low-intensity, poorly armed separatist movement. Although the movement is known as the Free Papua Organization (OPM), it is largely composed of a multitude of small, uncoordinated groups that are scattered across the huge province and its neighbor, West Papua.

The shooting was the second to claim the life of a police officer this year. On June 24, First Brig. M. Yazin was shot dead, also at the airport in Mulia, with his firearm missing. Those killers have not yet been apprehended.

Wachyono said that of the recent assailants, one was about 1.5 meters tall, skinny and barefoot, while the other man stood about 10 centimeters taller and also was skinny and barefoot.

Dominggus’s body has been taken to the local general hospital and has yet to be flown to Sentani, near Jayapura, because of bad weather.

The airport, Wachyono said, was briefly closed down for the investigation but was reopened later in the day.

“The killers are OPM separatists who always mess things up in Puncak Jaya,” Wachyono said, adding that police were now attempting to hunt down the individual attackers.

Puncak Jaya, located in a central Papuan mountain range, is a center of activity for OPM guerrillas and has seen a series of armed clashes in past years.

OPM guerrillas have also been blamed by officials for recent deadly ambushes on vehicles near the giant gold and copper mine operated by the local subsidiary of American company Freeport-McMoRan in the Mimika district of Papua, southwest of Puncak Jaya.

The latest ambush at the mine is part of a recent string. The first two in April left two dead and two wounded. Earlier this month, six were killed in separate attacks.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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Filed under Papua, Separatism

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