The Jakarta Post
Members of the Indonesian Military's (TNI) Cendrawasih Military Command XVII are hunting down an armed group of civilians in Tembagapura, Mimika regency, Papua, following an attack that claimed a soldier’s life.
“A group of soldiers are still in pursuit and also making inventory of the damage caused by the armed group. But all residents are safe and there were no civilian casualties, Cendrawasih Military Command spokesman Col. M. Aidi said in a statement on Tuesday.
A soldier, Private First Class Vicky Irad Uba Rumpaidus, was killed in a shooting exchange between the military and the group in Utikini village, Mimika, on Sunday. He died after allegedly being shot in his right temple.
The shootout also claimed lives and injured some of the armed assailants.
“From drone monitoring, we saw that two members died and others were injured before escaping into the woods,” Aidi said.
Before the incident, the group allegedly ran amok by setting locals’ houses, a hospital and a school building on fire.
The group had allegedly taken control of several villages in Tembagapura district, namely Utikini, Longsoran, Kimbeli, Banti 1, Banti 2 and Opitawak, Aidi claimed, adding that the authorities feared that it was part of the group’s warning to the TNI and the police that it wanted an open fight.
To take back the villages, TNI had deployed groups of soldiers to targeted areas.
“They apparently have been ready to welcome security personnel, hence the shootout,” he said.
Attacks from armed assailants in the area were rampant last year, when assailants allegedly held 1,300 residents hostage in several villages while launching attacks against security personnel. (rin)