Police, TNI on Manhunt for Armed Group in Papua

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Papua Regional Police and the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command are still chasing down the armed group in Nduga District, Papua. The armed men are suspected to have attacked dozens of construction workers of PT Istaka Karya on Sunday, December 2.

    "We have established a team to hunt down the culprits. We the Papua Police will not cease this pursuit until we arrest and prosecute them by law," Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Martuani Sormin told Antara, Tuesday, December 11.

    Martuani said the TNI would give full support to the police in order to arrest, process and hand-over the armed group members—led by Egianus Kogoya—to the justice system.

    Sebby Sembom, spokesman for the West Papua National Liberation Army, confirmed that the group was responsible for the attack. They claim that the attack was their way of protesting the construction of the Trans Papua road, and they want Papuan independence.

    Martuani said the group is likely to have military standard firearms stolen from the army and the police, as well as smuggled from abroad. Sometime ago in Sorong, West Papua, the police revealed cases of firearms smuggling to Papua from Mindanao, the Philippines.

    Regarding the pursuit, Martuani said the joint team faced considerable obstacles from the difficult terrains. "We are pursuing them on an altitude above 10,000 feet; with thin oxygen, steep slopes, unfriendly weather, no telephone signals," he said.

    Meanwhile, Commander of the XVII/Cenderawasih Military Command, Maj. Gen. Yosua Pandit Sembiring, asserted that the construction of the Trans Papua road in Nduga Regency will resume immediately.

    "The TNI Commander made it very clear that the construction of the Trans Papua road will continue, it will not stop," he said.

    ANTARA