Indonesian troops hunt down Papuan fighters after killings
JAKARTA: Indonesian forces hunt down Papuan fighters after construction workers die.
Indonesian police say they are looking for a group behind the deaths of four construction workers in Papua province.
The latest deadly violence reported in Papua occurred last Thursday in the Seradala district of Yahukimo regency.
Police blamed the West Papua Liberation Army, whose independence guerrillas are labeled terrorists by Jakarta.
A police spokesperson told RNZ Pacific the four victims were civilian construction workers.
He said police and military forces (Polri and TNI) were jointly pursuing the suspected killers.
This is the latest violent attack by the Liberation Army in its ongoing campaign against the Indonesian state in the Papua Highlands region.
Liberation Army spokesperson Sebby Sambom warned civilians that their safety could not be guaranteed in areas it declared to be war zones.
The areas where attacks have taken place since 2018 are in the regencies of Intan Jaya, Puncak Jaya, Ndugama, the Bintang Highlands and Yahukimo.
“If you are a construction worker, a motorcycle taxi driver, you (have to) all leave conflict zones.
“Because we cannot be responsible for your lives, we have warned you.
“But you are listening to TNI-Polri deceiving you by saying that we guarantee (your safety), they are deceiving you,” Sambom said.
However, a spokesperson for the TNI Joint Defense Area Command, Colonel Czi Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa, called the Liberation Army’s statement a deception, denying that any part of Papua is a war zone.
Meanwhile, the police spokesperson was unable to confirm reports that four other construction workers were being held hostage by independence fighters in Yahukimo.