The separatist group, Free Papua Organization (OPM), shots at an Indonesian military helicopter in the province of Papua on Friday (22/02) as the crew was trying to evacuate the bodies of eight soldiers killed in the OPM’s attacks the day before.
Three crew members were wounded in Friday’s attack on the Super Puma helicopter, which was forced to abort its mission and rush the injured to a hospital, said Lt. Col. Jansen Simanjuntak, an army spokesman.
Eight soldiers and four civilians were killed in two separate attacks in the area on Thursday. The area is a stronghold of separatists who have battled Indonesian rule in the region.
In the deadliest attack Thursday, about 20 assailants armed with guns and machetes attacked a group of soldiers walking to Ilaga Airport in Puncak district to collect communication equipment, killing seven, Simanjuntak said.
Col. Agus Rianto, a national police spokesman said Friday, that four civilians were killed.
About an hour before that attack, OPM gunmen stormed an army post in Tingginambut, a village in neighboring Puncak Jaya district, and fatally shot one soldier and injured another before fleeing into the jungle, Simanjuntak said.
Simanjuntak identified the assailants as members of a local separatist group led by Goliat Tabuni.
Senior Security Minister Djoko Suyanto said the incidents were “very irresponsible acts by the OPM armed groups in Papua,” adding that “the government very strongly condemns such brutal incidents.” He said the perpetrators would be captured and prosecuted.
The former Dutch colony of Papua in the western part of New Guinea was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 following a U.N.-sponsored ballot.
Source: Associated Press