Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - An Indonesian soldier died after being involved in a gunfight with several notorious armed Papuan rebels near the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Subdistrict Command's compound in Intan Jaya District, Papua Province, on Saturday, a military spokesman said.

The fallen hero is identified as First Private Dwi Akbar Utomo, XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Spokesperson Lt.Col.Reza Nur Patria told journalists here, on Saturday evening.

Utamo who sustained gunshot wounds in the exchange of fire that broke out at around 1:20 p.m. local time was admitted to Sugapa Public Hospital but his life could not be saved, he said.

Following the gunfight, several army and police personnel conducted a sweeping operation around the incident site, he said.

In September 2020, the armed Papuan separatists had launched several attacks which ended with the deaths of two soldiers and a civilian. They also shot two other civilians.

On Friday, the coffin of Chief Sergeant Sahlan, who was slain by an armed Papuan rebel group in Intan Jaya district of Papua province, had been flown to Makassar, South Sulawesi Province via Biak Numfor District.

Chief Sergeant Sahlan was killed in an ambush laid by a notorious group of armed separatists on Thursday while he was returning to the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Subdistrict Command in Intan Jaya district with food supplies from the Sugapa area.

The attackers seized his gun and magazine, according to Commander of the Biak-based 173/Praja Vira Braja Military Resort Command, Brig.Gen. Iwan Setiawan.

Sahlan was a member of the 1404 Pindrang Military District Command in South Sulawesi province, which has been assigned to back up the Village Supervisory Non-Commissioned Officers (Babinsa) of the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Subdistrict Command in Intan Jaya district, he said.

In a separate incident on Thursday, armed Papuan rebels tortured and killed a 49-year-old Ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver identified as Badawi.

On Sept 13, armed separatists had also shot at two other Ojek drivers in Sugapa area, but they managed to survive the attack. The two drivers are currently undergoing treatment in Timika, the capital of Mimika district, Setiawan added.

The security situation in Papua remains volatile owing to the province's vulnerability to acts of deadly violence by separatists and their backers.

In August this year, three civilians were assaulted and killed in Yahukimo district. One of the slain civilians was identified as Yausan.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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