Papuan armed criminal groups
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) – Five armed criminal groups are operating out of the Hipadipa subdistrict in Intan Jaya district of Papua province, while the personnel strength at the Hipadipa Military Subdistrict Command is limited, a top police official said.
The only access road to the subdistrict lies through the Sugapa subdistrict, and Papuan armed criminal groups have repeatedly attacked army personnel and civilians on this road stretch over the past few days, Papua police chief, Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw, told local journalists in the provincial capital of Jayapura on Tuesday while commenting on recent attacks in the area.
To deal with this situation, there is a need to put multiple layers of security in place along the nine-hour drive to Hipadipa subdistrict area as backup, he suggested.
The Indonesian Military and the National Police will work closely to protect the local community and security personnel deployed in the area from the violent attacks of armed criminals, he averred. Commenting on armed Papuan criminals threatening to gun down aircrew serving on planes transporting security personnel to Papua’s hinterlands, Waterpauw said the threats have raised alarm among aircrew.
The police will continue to use air transport to deploy personnel to certain locations within the province, he stated. September has been the bloodiest month in Intan Jaya district this year with armed criminals mounting a spate of attacks which have left two soldiers and two civilians dead and two others injured.
On September 19, 2020, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight with several armed Papuan criminals near the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command’s compound in the district.
The fallen hero has been identified as First Private Dwi Akbar Utomo, said XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command spokesperson, Lt. Col. Reza Nur Patria.
The same day, armed separatists also reportedly gunned down Priest Yeremia Zanambani in Hitadipa village, Hitadipa sub-district.
The priest died of gunshot wounds after he was shot by armed criminals on September 19, 2020, Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesperson, Col. IGN Suriastawa, noted in a recent statement.
On September 17, 2020, another soldier, Chief Sergeant Sahlan, was reportedly killed in an ambush laid by a group of armed criminals. He was returning to the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command with food supplies from the Sugapa area when he was attacked.
The attackers seized his gun and magazine, according to Commander of the Biak-based 173/Praja Vira Braja Military Resort Command, Brig. Gen. Iwan Setiawan.
Sahlan, a member of the 1404 Pindrang Military District Command in South Sulawesi province, had been tasked with backing up the Village Supervisory Non-Commissioned Officers (Babinsa) of the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command.
In a separate incident on September 17, 2020, armed Papuan rebels reportedly tortured and killed a 49-year-old Ojek motorcycle taxi driver, identified as Badawi.
Meanwhile, on September 13, 2020, armed separatists opened fire at two Ojek drivers in Sugapa area, but they managed to survive the attack. The two drivers are currently undergoing treatment in Timika, the capital of Mimika District, Setiawan stated. (INE)