Archipelago

Border reopened despite
shootings

The border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Skouw Wutung remains open, after it was temporary closed for the Indonesia legislative election, despite armed civilians instigating yet another shooting incident.

“Officers ensured security at the border [during the incident] and are pursuing the armed group,” Cenderawasih Military Command chief spokesman Let. Col. Rikas Hidayatullah told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

A shopkeeper at Perbatasan Market in Skouw Wutung, Hery, 25, was shot in the incident. Hery was traveling on a pickup truck driven by Syamsuddin at around 1 p.m. local time. They vehicle was carrying goods from East Koya to Perbatasan Market.

Around a kilometer before the market the armed group shot at them. Hery, who was sitting next to Syamsuddin, was shot in the arm.

“Upon hearing gunfire, a number of border security personnel chased after the perpetrators, while some others took [Hery] to Bhayangkara Hospital in Jayapura,” Rikas said, adding that Indonesian Military (TNI) task force from Infantry Battalion 623 personnel also joined the pursuit.

“The task force is continuing with its manhunt and security personnel at the border are protecting residents,” he said.

Perbatasan Market, which was built by the Trade Ministry, serves the needs of PNG citizens living in Vanimo city in Sandaun province, PNG.

Around 350 PNG citizens shop at the market every day. During market days — Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays — the number of visitors can reach up to 1,000 people.

On April 5, a group of armed civilians took down an Indonesian flag and hoisted the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) separatist flag at the border area, vandalized public facilities and shot at the observation tower which hurt Jayapura City Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alfred Papare and TNI member Chief Sergeant Tugino.

Another shooting took place on April 9 which coincided with the legislative election. No casualties were reported in the incident.

“They fired shots to provoke on-duty security personnel,” Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian.

The perpetrators are still at large and security personnels are still in pursuit..

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