Papuan separatists kill four Indonesian soldiers
Four soldiers were killed by separatist rebels on September 2 in an attack on a military post in the troubled West Papua province of Indonesia.
Dozens of rebels attacked the pre-dawn post in Kisor in Maybrat district while the soldiers were still sleeping.
Four soldiers died and two others were seriously injured in the attack.
Local military commander Major General I Nyoman Cantiasa said at least 50 separatists armed with machetes, axes and arrows attacked the soldiers.
“Five soldiers managed to escape and military units are now hunting down the perpetrators,” Cantiasa said.
The attack was seen as revenge for the army’s arrest of five separatists last week. Among those arrested was Wusama sub-district chief Etius Baye, suspected of helping finance the rebels.
This action was part of our war to liberate Papua. It won’t stop and more attacks will come anytime
The other four were believed to have killed two construction workers last week in Yahukimo district.
The West Papua National Liberation Army and the Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) subsequently claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“This action was part of our war to liberate Papua. It will not stop and more attacks will occur at any time, ”Sebby Sambom, spokesperson for the group, said in a statement.
The violence was the latest in a series of rebel attacks over the past year that left dozens of deaths among rebels, civilians and members of the Indonesian security forces.
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Meanwhile, security forces have been accused of controlling Papua with an iron fist, further alienating the local population.
The rebels want Papua to free itself from Indonesia, which took control of the region in 1969 following a UN-sponsored referendum that many residents have called a sham.
Theo Hesegem, executive director of the Papua Justice and Human Integrity Foundation, called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to “hear the voices and cries of the families of the victims” and to put a negotiated end to the violence.
Crackdown and harsh law enforcement will not solve the problems and will only make matters worse, he told UCA News. “It is better to have a dialogue,” he said.
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