Arms trafficking operation in West Papua.
Manokwari, W Papua (ANTARA) – West Papua police thwarted an attempt by an underground arms syndicate to trade weapons and ammunition smuggled from the Philippines and arrested three persons, including a housewife, over their involvement in the case.
The suspects, identified by their initials as SM, SK, and RB, smuggled six guns, three magazines, and 43 bullets (.45 caliber) into West Papua through Manado in North Sulawesi and Sorong in West Papua, the province’s police chief, Inspector General Tornagogo Sihombing, said here on Tuesday.
While two of the suspects were West Papua residents, one was residing in North Sulawesi, he said.
The trans-border crime was uncovered by a special team of investigators from the West Papua Police’s General Criminal Investigation Directorate, Sihombing informed.
A housewife from North Sulawesi was among the suspects apprehended in the operation, which was being conducted since November 3, 2020, he said adding, some illegal weapons may have been smuggled into Papua province.
“RB has built an arms trafficking network in the Philippines. The illegal weapons are smuggled by the sea into Manado, North Sulawesi. From the city, they are then transported to Sorong, Manokwari (West Papua), and Nabire (Papua),” he informed.
Sihombing said the arms trafficking case was not the first for West Papua. A similar case had been handled in the past, and those responsible for the crime had been brought to justice, he added.
“We have repeatedly handled arms trafficking cases. But, the latest case is not related to home-made weapons, but manufactured ones. We are striving to uncover other suspects belonging to RB’s networks,” he said.
The West Papua police will closely coordinate with the North Sulawesi police to uncover the arms smuggling operation, and with Papua police to crack down on those responsible for distributing and trading illegal weapons, he elaborated.
“We must prevent those weapons from falling into the hands of armed Papuan criminals,” he added.
The Indonesian province of Papua has continued to bear witness to a vicious cycle of violence, with armed Papuan criminal groups in the districts of Intan Jaya and Nduga targeting civilians and security personnel over the past few months.
Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September this year, with armed groups launching a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and injured two others. (INE)
Source of arms trafficking operation: ANTARA NEWS