Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Papua Police recorded that, during 2019, there were 23 shooting incidents involving the armed Papuan groups that claimed the lives of 10 members of the Indonesian police and military, and 10 civilians, a police officer revealed.

The shooting incident took place in the administrative areas of Puncak Jaya, Jayawijaya, Mimika, and Paniai Districts during 2019, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw said here on Saturday.

ANTARA noted that the Papuan armed separatists have repeatedly launched deadly attacks and killings over the past years.

On December 2, 2018, for instance, a group of armed Papuan rebels had brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya, who were engaged in construction and building the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-District, Nduga District.

The armed rebels, who launched the brutal killings, also killed a soldier named Handoko and injured two other security personnel: Sugeng and Wahyu.

Acknowledging this grim reality, Paulus Waterpauw's predecessor, Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja, said the security disturbances, caused by the rebels, remain a persistent challenge for Indonesia's security apparatuses in Papua.

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In the first semester of 2019, at least 10 shooting incidents involving these armed separatists have occurred that claimed seven lives.

Five of the dead victims were soldiers, while two others were a policeman and civilian, Rodja stated on July 3, 2019.

The shooting incidents that took place in the working areas of the Puncak Jaya and Jayawijaya Police Precincts during the January-June period this year had also resulted in six soldiers and two policemen suffering from gunshot wounds.

On Nov 30, a group of Papuan gunmen also opened fire at an escort car owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) at around Mile 60 in Tembagapura Sub-district, Mimika District, Papua Province, but no casualties were reported in the incident.

The gunmen who fired at PTFI's "Delta Zone" escort car might belong to an armed Papuan rebel group, led by Hengki Wamang, according to Spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Colonel Eko Daryanto.

Apart from the central and provincial governments' endeavors to persuade the rebels to end their acts of violence and return to their families to resume a normal life, the Free Papua Movement (OPM) has officially declared war against Indonesia.

The implication of this OPM's war declaration that its spokesman Jeffrey Bomanak made in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea (PNG), on Jan 31, 2019, has prolonged a circle of violence.

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Translator: Anita PD, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2019