On September 19, 2020, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight with several armed Papuan rebels near the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command's compound in the district.
The fallen hero has been identified as First Private Dwi Akbar Utomo, according to XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command spokesperson, Lt. Col. Reza Nur Patria.
The same day, armed separatists also reportedly gunned down Priest Yeremia Zanambani in Hitadipa village, Hitadipa sub-district.
The priest died of gunshot wounds after he was shot by armed criminals on September 19, 2020, Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesperson, Col. IGN Suriastawa, noted in a recent statement.
On September 17, 2020, another soldier, Chief Sergeant Sahlan, was reportedly killed in an ambush laid by a group of armed separatists. He was returning to the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command in Intan Jaya district with food supplies from the Sugapa area when he was attacked.
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, a member of the 1404 Pindrang Military District Command in South Sulawesi province, had been tasked with backing up the Village Supervisory Non-Commissioned Officers (Babinsa) of the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command, Setiawan noted.
In a separate incident on September 17, 2020, armed Papuan rebels reportedly tortured and killed a 49-year-old motorcycle taxi Ojek driver identified as Badawi.
On September 13, 2020, armed separatists opened fire 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.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) has condemned the recent shooting of Priest Yeremia Zanamban in the province, where the security situation has remained volatile owing to its vulnerability to acts of deadly violence by armed separatists and their backers.
Local media reported that the PGI has sent letters to President Joko Widodo as well as the Indonesian Military (TNI) commander and the National Police chief, demanding a thorough investigation into the incident.
The PGI has also appealed to the government to set up an independent fact-finding team to probe the shooting.
Sugapa police chief, Second Inspector Engel Mayor, had met with Priest Timotius Miagoni from the Indonesian Evangelical Christian Church (GKII) to discuss information on Zanambani's death circulated on social media platforms.
Priest Miagoni was quoted by Papua Police spokesperson, Sen. Coms. Ahmad Kamal, as saying that he had received a phone call from a family member of Priest Zanambani informing him that Zanambani had been shot dead while feeding his swine at the pen.
"That is what I heard because I have yet to visit the village, so I am not able to speak further," Priest Miagoni was quoted by Kamal as saying.
Papua police later informed that a notorious criminal group, led by Jelek Waker, may have masterminded the shooting of Priest Zanambani.
The armed group may have also plotted a string of shootings and attacks on army personnel and civilians over the past few days, Kamal told journalists on Monday.
The Waker-led armed gang members had attempted to lure military and police personnel into the area, but only some army personnel were, in fact, present at the Persiapan Hipadipa Military Sub-district Command, he noted.
“Hence, it is untrue that Priest Yeremia Zanambani, found dead in Hitadipa village, was gunned down by security personnel,” Kamal remarked, adding that the police will examine the site of the shooting as part of its investigation into the case.
Joint Regional Defense Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesperson, Col. IGN Suriastawa, had earlier denied allegations circulated by armed criminal groups and their supporters on social media platforms that the priest had been shot by TNI personnel, stating that 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 the Indonesian government in efforts to attract public attention ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The general debate of the UN General Assembly's 75th session is scheduled to take place from September 22 to September 29, 2020, during which, a number of speakers will present their views and perspectives on relevant issues.
According to the United Nations' official website, at the opening of the general debate, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres will introduce the annual report on the activities of the organization.
At the high-level meeting, the UN member states will formally adopt a declaration on the commemoration of the United Nations' 75th anniversary. The UN75 Report summarizing the findings of the global dialogues will also be shared.
Over the past few years, the UN General Assembly has often been considered a platform by several people who want Papua to secede from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia to launch their campaigns for cornering Indonesia.
However, they intentionally ignore the killing spree the armed Papuan criminals carry out against innocent civilians, like the one witnessed in Intan Jaya district, Papua province, this September. (INE)
Related news: Four crew members of stranded MV Adi Utama evacuated: SAR
Related news: Jelek Waker-led armed group masterminded shooting of priest: police
EDITED BY INE