Police chief of Papua province, Ins.Gen. Tito Karnavian said the police had identified the perpetrators behind the civilian helicopter shootings on Tuesday (26/03) in Puncak Senyum, Papua. He said they were likely the armed civilian group of Free Papua Organization (OPM) which is led by Purom Okiman Wenda.
“According to a preliminary investigation, it is strongly believed that the shooters were the armed group of OPM. The area has been identified as the group’s playground for quite a while now,” Tito, former police counterterrorism special detachment commander, said on Wednesday (27.03).
He added that there had been growing suspicion that the shootings were also part of the group’s strategy to put blame on the police and the military due to the existence of a joint command post near the scene.
“They want the civilians to think that it was either the police or the military behind the shootings,” he said.
Separately, Cendrawasih Military Command Commander Maj. Gen. Christiant Zebua said he regretted the shootings, saying that whoever had masterminded the attack was heartless and irrational.
“Let alone the fact that the helicopter was transporting two Christian missionaries who carry out humanitarian missions in the region. This just makes the shootings look even worse,” he said.
An early report stated that a helicopter owned by the Helivida Foundation, en route to Wamena with two Christian missionary passengers, was shot at by OPM in Puncak Senyum on Tuesday. No victims were reported but there were two bullet holes found on a window near the cockpit.
Source: the Jakarta Post