Two of the three drivers were shot dead while the third was tortured to death. The victims had been evacuated and have been sent to their families for burial, Papua Police Spokesman Sen.Coms. Ahmad Kamal told ANTARA in Jayapura Saturday.
The killings occurred Friday after the Ojek drivers who intended to ferry their passengers passed by Pugisiga Village at around 10.55 a.m. local time, he said.
The Lekagak Telenggen-led armed rebels were allegedly responsible for the killing of these three innocent civilians, Spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Colonel Eko Daryanto revealed earlier.
The Ojek drivers shot dead and then hacked with machetes by the Lekagak Telenggen-led armed rebels were identified as Rizal (31), Herianto (31), and La Soni (25), he said.
The victims’ bodies could be extricated from the scene only after a local member of parliament, Titus Kobogau reported the incident to Intan Jaya District Head Natalis Tabuni, and Deki Belau, a young community leader.
Kobogau, himself, was intercepted by the same rebels while on his way to Pugisiga Village, Hitadipa Subdistrict, Intan Jaya District on Friday to pick up a churchgoer of Kingmi Chapel.
"According to Titus, he saw the three dead victims, lying on the ground. They could have been killed 30 minutes before he passed by the crime scene," Daryanto said.
Luckily, he was allowed by the rebels to continue his trip, Kobogau said. He reported what he saw to Tabuni and Belau.
On Friday afternoon, Tabuni held a meeting with authorities concerned to discuss ways to evacuate the murdered Ojek drivers from the crime scene to the Boligai Health Center.
Tabuni condemned the killing of innocent civilians after seeing their bodies, urging residents to remain calm. He asked other Ojek drivers to be careful and to restrict their working hours.
The latest incident has increased the list of innocent civilians killed by armed Papuan rebels.
On September 26, for instance, two Ojek drivers, Alwi and Midung, were executed by rebels near the Muara suspension bridge in Amnunggi Village, Ilaga Sub-district, Puncak District, Papua.
The deaths of these drivers also exposed the dirty underbelly of the ongoing campaign by rebels to slay civilians in Papua since the separatist organization, Free Papua Movement (OPM), declared war on Indonesia early this year. (INE)
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