The suspects were identified as Yohanis Wamang, Roni Wamang, Ema Natkiin/Natkime, Nangain Magai, Emarain Magai, and Imelda Magai, said Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Sen.Coms. I Gusti Gede Era Adhinata on Wednesday in Timika, the capital of Mimika District.
The suspects were nabbed during a joint public order operation conducted by local police and military personnel on Tuesday for preventing residents from carrying machetes and liquor, he revealed.
During the operation, security personnel found a car belonging to the suspects loaded with food, he continued.
During questioning, the suspects admitted the stock of food, which included rice, instant noodles, sugar, coffee, and kitchen ingredients, was meant for the Hengky Wamang-led group, Adhinata stated.
One of the suspects revealed he was related to Hengku Wamang and told investigators the rebel group leader had asked them to buy food from Timika's Pasar Lama market on Bhayangkara Street, he added.
The security situation in Papua remains volatile due to acts of deadly violence committed by Papuan separatists.
The rebels have engaged in frequent exchanges of fire with Indonesian military and police personnel. The rebels have also launched deadly attacks on civilians over the past years and killed several of them.
As per Papua Police records, between early January and December 28, 2019, a total of 23 shooting and criminal cases involving armed Papuan groups have claimed the lives of 10 police and military personnel as well as 10 civilians.
The armed Papuan groups had committed such 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 on December 28, 2019.
Acts of terror committed by the armed rebels in the area of Oksibil, the capital of Pegunungan Bintang District, for instance, had terrified local residents. Consequently, they were fearful of leaving their homes for harvesting their agricultural land. (INE)
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EDITED BY INE