Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - A former supporter of an armed Papuan separatist group, handed over his rifle and two 22-caliber bullets to the Indonesian military in Merauke District, Papua Province, February 22, 2020, a military official said.

The CIS-typed rifle was handed over by this 54-year-old resident, identified only as Y.K., of Toray Village, Sota Subdistrict, Merauke District, to the personnel of the Army Strategic Reserves Command's (Kostrad's) MR 411/PDW Infantry Battalion at the Toray Command Post.

"Y.K. voluntarily handed over his rifle and two 22-caliber bullets to the chief of Toray Command Post 2nd Lt Wesly Baslius Tanaem on the night of February 22," Commander of the task force at the Kostrad's MR 411/PDW Infantry Battalion Major Rizky Aditya said here Wednesday.

Before making his decision, Y.K. told Private Andri E Ginting, an army personnel at the Toray Command Post that he was supposed to be his adopted son, and about a rifle that he had hidden in a forest near Toray Village, Aditya said.

The rifle was given by his late brother, only identified by his initials A.P.G. (60), Y.K. was quoted by Aditya as saying. Y.K. said his heart was touched by the friendly approach that the task force personnel applied to native Papuans, he said.

As a result, Y.K. felt encouraged to surrender the rifle and its bullets, Aditya said, adding that the weapon would soon be handed over to the 174/ATW Regional Military Command.

The Y.K. case was evidence that a friendly approach could have won the hearts and minds of the native Papuan community members, Deputy Spokesman of the XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Lt. Col. Dax said.

Related news: Respect native Papuans' cultural norms, traditions: military officer

The residents who have weapons illegally are also urged to surrender them to the law enforcement agencies to avoid legal sanction, he said.

The security situation in Papua remains vulnerable to the acts of deadly violence by notorious Papuan separatists.

The rebels were engaged in repeated exchanges of fire with the Indonesian military and police personnel. The rebels also launched deadly attacks on civilians over the past years and killed a number of them.

The Papua Police recorded that from early January to December 28, 2019, a total of 23 shooting and criminal cases involving the armed Papuan groups had claimed the lives of 10 members of the Indonesian police and military as well as 10 civilians.

The armed Papuan criminals committed these criminal acts in the administrative areas of the districts of Puncak Jaya, Jayawijaya, Mimika, and Paniai in 2019, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw remarked December 28, 2019.

Related news: Free Papua commander surrenders to Indonesian police

Translator: Alfian Rumagit, Rahmad Nasutio
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2020