Three Indonesian soldiers die in an ambush in Papua
Three soldiers were killed and another seriously injured by an armed separatist group in an attack on a military post in Indonesia’s easternmost province, Papua, the army said.
The January 27 attack was carried out by the West Papua National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Free Papua Organization, in Tigilobak, Puncak district.
Indonesian army spokesman Colonel Aqsha Erlangga said the rebels ambushed the soldiers at dawn as the guard was being changed at the military post.
He said the rebels killed one soldier at the scene and mortally wounded another before fleeing into the jungle.
They attacked again as Indonesian soldiers tried to evacuate the seriously injured soldier, mortally wounding another soldier and injuring another.
West Papua National Liberation Army spokesman Sebby Sambom later claimed responsibility for the attack.
If the central government cares about the common good, it will tell all Papuans, including separatist rebels, to sit down for talks
“[We] will continue to mobilize our fighters in our 34 defense regions across the country of Papua,” Papuan news portal jubi.co.id quoted him as saying.
Father Bernard Baru, president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Augustinian Order in Papua, condemned the attack and called on both parties to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict through dialogue.
“If the central government cares about the common good, they will tell all Papuans, including separatist rebels, to sit down for talks,” he told UCA News.
He said the Catholic Church could play an important role as a mediator.
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The attack was the latest in a decades-long campaign of violence by separatists seeking independence from Indonesia.
In September last year, four soldiers were killed by separatist rebels in an attack on a military post in Kisor, Maybrat district, West Papua province.
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