Four soldiers killed in attack on Papua
Jayapura, Papua. Four army soldiers, including a junior officer, died and two others were seriously injured after a group of armed men attacked a military post in the South Aifat district, in the town of Maybrat, in West Papua early Thursday, the Indonesian military said.
The attack occurred around 3 a.m. local time and allegedly involved a local armed criminal group, according to Major General I Nyoman Chantiasa, commander of the Kasuari Provincial Military Command in Papua.
About 50 assailants attacked the post while all the victims were sleeping, Chantiasa said.
The soldiers killed were identified by their first names: Sergeant Amrosius, Master Private Dirham, Private First Class Zul Ansari and First Lieutenant Dirman – the highest ranking soldier among the victims.
Dirham’s body was found in a dense bush near the post while three soldiers were killed inside the post, Chantiasa said.
Private First Class Ikbal and Staff Sergeant Juliano survived the attack with serious injuries, but the surrounding circumstances remain unclear.
“I will give a press conference later,” Chantiasa said, adding that an investigation was underway.
The attack came weeks before neighboring Papua hosted a multi-sport event, the National Games.
The restless provinces of Papua and West Papua continue to cause headaches for Indonesian security officials, with attacks occurring sporadically and often targeting civilians such as construction workers.
Jakarta has officially branded the armed Papua-West Papua separatist group as a terrorist organization despite the lack of specific identification of the group.
The move, which immediately sparked objection by the governor of Papua, came after a series of attacks on security officials and civilians.
“The government considers the Papuan organization and its people who have committed massive acts of violence to be terrorists,” Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD said on April 29.
Mahfud highlighted the 2018 Anti-Terrorism Law which defines terrorism as “deliberate violence to instigate terror and fear in the public in a way that can cause widespread deaths and / or destruction of the environment, public facilities or international installations motivated by political reasons and / or for ideological purposes ”.
“Based on this definition, the activities of the armed criminal group under any name, its people and those affiliated with it are classified as a terrorist act,” Mahfud said.
He said the government will never recognize any movement to separate Papua from Indonesia, highlighting United Nations General Assembly resolution 2504 on the transfer of the administration of West Papua from the Netherlands to the Indonesia ratified in 1969.
“Papua, including West Papua, is a legitimate part of the Republic of Indonesia,” he said.