The priest died after suffering gunshot wounds owing to the shooting by armed criminals in Hitadipa Village on Sept 19, Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesperson Col. IGN Suriastawa noted in a statement here Sunday.
Suriastawa denied allegations circulated by the armed criminal groups and their supporters on social media platforms that the priest was shot by TNI personnel when on the contrary, armed Papuan criminals had shot him.
The spokesperson contended that armed groups and their loyalists had intentionally distorted the fact to corner the TNI and Indonesian Government in their efforts to attract public attention ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly.
In September, the armed Papuan separatists launched several attacks that ended with the deaths of two soldiers and a civilian. They also shot at two other civilians.
On Saturday (Sept 19), an Indonesian soldier died after being involved in a gunfight with several notorious armed Papuan rebels near the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command's compound in Intan Jaya District.
The fallen hero is identified as First Private Dwi Akbar Utomo, according to XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Reza Nur Patria.
On Friday (Sept 18), the coffin of Chief Sergeant Sahlan, who was slain by an armed Papuan rebel group in Intan Jaya District of Papua Province, was flown to Makassar, South Sulawesi Province via Biak Numfor District.
Chief Sergeant Sahlan was killed in an ambush by a notorious group of armed separatists on Thursday (Sept 17) while he was returning to the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command in Intan Jaya District with food supplies from the Sugapa area.
The attackers seized his gun and magazine, Commander of the Biak-based 173/Praja Vira Braja Military Resort Command, Brig. Gen. Iwan Setiawan, noted in his recent statement.
Sahlan, a member of the 1404 Pindrang Military District Command in South Sulawesi Province, was tasked with backing up the Village Supervisory Non-Commissioned Officers (Babinsa) of the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command in Intan Jaya District, he noted.
In a separate incident on Thursday, armed Papuan rebels tortured and killed a 49-year-old motorcycle taxi Ojek 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 stated.
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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