Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw confirmed on Tuesday that a civil servant at the Intan Jaya district administration was detained for alleged involvement in an illegal arms trade with Papuan armed criminal groups.

Only identified by his initials as MS, the suspect was detained for investigation since he was handed over by his family to the police on November 13, 2020, Waterpauw notified local journalists.

MS was able to evade capture by several Nabire district police officers in Samoba Bawah Village on November 6, 2020. During that time, he had carried four illegal guns and several ammunition aboard a motorboat from Biak, the Papuan Police chief stated.

The local police was able to arrest the civil servant after his family approached the personnel for handing him over on November 13, 2020, Waterpauw noted, adding that MS had unintentionally dropped the illegal light weapons that he brought in a bag.

The police investigators continue to probe this illegal arms trade in Papua to blow the lid off several other individuals, who might have also been involved in a transnational firearms trafficking operation, he stated.

MS told police investigators that he and his friend, only identified as S, worked with YZ, who told them to take possession of 12 weapons from RB in North Sulawesi. The weapons from RB were smuggled from the Philippines into Sangir Talaud Islands in North Sulawesi Province.

S carried six of the 12 weapons smuggled from the Philippines into Sangir Talaud Islands in North Sulawesi to Sorong City in West Papua Province, while the remaining six others were brought by MS.

During his trip, MS faced a financial problem, so he sold two of the six weapons to KS in Manokwari City. MS then sold each weapon at Rp30 million, he revealed.

In November 2020, West Papua Police Chief Inspector General Tornagogo Sihombing revealed that RB was a housewife from North Sulawesi.

RB built an arms trafficking network in the Philippines. The illegal weapons were smuggled by sea into Manado, North Sulawesi. From the city, they were then transported to Sorong, Manokwari in West Papua, and Nabire in Papua, he stated.

Sihombing remarked that the arms trafficking case was not the first for West Papua. A similar case was handled in the past, and those responsible for the crime had been brought to justice, he noted.

"We have repeatedly handled arms trafficking cases. However, the latest case is not related to homemade weapons but manufactured ones. We are striving to uncover other suspects belonging to RB's networks," he remarked.

The West Papua police closely coordinated with the North Sulawesi police to expose the arms smuggling operation and worked along with the Papua police to crack down on those responsible for distributing and trading illegal weapons, he elaborated.

"We must prevent those weapons from falling into the hands of armed Papuan criminals," he remarked.

The Indonesian province of Papua has continued to bear witness to a vicious cycle of violence, with armed Papuan criminal groups in the districts of Intan Jaya and Nduga targeting civilians and security personnel over the past few months.

Intan Jaya recorded its bloodiest month in September 2020, with armed groups launching a series of attacks in the area that claimed the lives of two soldiers and two civilians and injured two others.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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