A regional intelligence chief was killed in an ambush by rebels in Papua over the weekend, the Indonesian Military (TNI) confirmed Monday as President Joko "Jokowi' Widodo vowed to crush the separatists.
Brig. Gen. I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha, who headed Papua's Intelligence Agency, was shot dead during a shootout after rebels opened fire at a patrolling security forces unit in the Papuan highlands on Sunday.
"He was in the area as part of the operation to restore security and to boost the morale of locals in the region following a series of attacks by separatist and terrorist groups," State Intelligence Agency (BIN) spokesman Wawan Purwanto told AFP.
Security forces have been ramping up military operation in the remote Puncak district after rebel groups killed soldiers and teachers, torching several schools and a helicopter in recent weeks.
President Jokowi said Monday he had ordered the police and military "to chase and arrest" all members of the rebel groups in the remote eastern province.
"I want to emphasise again that there is no place for armed groups in Papua," Jokowi said.
Papua rebel spokesman Sebby Sambon claimed responsibility for the attack, adding there were no casualties on their side.
"We also shot at other soldiers but we missed them," Sambon told AFP.
Security forces have for years been dogged by allegations of widespread rights abuses against Papua's indigenous population including extrajudicial killings of activists and peaceful protestors in their efforts to crush the rebel groups.
Papua shares a border with independent Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea just north of Australia.