Armed Papuan group burns down plane, American pilot evacuated

Armed Papuan group burns down plane, American pilot evacuated

Papua Police chief, Insp.Gen.Paulus Waterpauw. (ANTARA/Evarukdijati)

This terrifying situation was intentionally created by the armed criminals to make locals terrified
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - An American pilot, identified as Alek Luferchek, was evacuated to Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, on Thursday, a day after his aircraft was set ablaze by several armed Papuans in Intan Jaya district.
 

Luferchek remains traumatized by the incident that occurred in Pagamba village, Mbiandoga subdistrict on Wednesday (January 6, 2021), Papua Police chief, Insp.Gen.Paulus Waterpauw, said here on Thursday.

 

"He has not yet talked much because he remains traumatized by the tragic event. He has been evacuated to Jayapura," he said, adding that the police have not yet identified the armed group's members who torched the Quest Kodiak aircraft.

 

The utility aircraft, bearing the registration number PK-MAX, was operated by the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), an organization that has been carrying out a Christian mission in Papua since 1952.

 

After unknown perpetrators set the aircraft on fire, Luferchek was saved by a priest and local residents.

 

He was then airlifted on a Helivida helicopter to Nabire district on Thursday morning before being flown to Jayapura, Waterpauw informed.

 

The armed criminals' attack on the MAF-owned aircraft was detected by Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), which then alerted the MAF and asked it to check the Quest Kodiak aircraft.

 

The Joint Regional Defence Command (Kogabwilhan) III spokesperson, Colonel Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa, confirmed earlier that an angry mob, supported by armed criminals, had set the aircraft ablaze at Nabire airport.

 

"This terrifying situation was intentionally created by the armed criminals to make locals terrified," Suriastawa 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 years.

 

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 left two others injured.

 

The acts of terror by notorious armed groups in the Indonesian province continued in October, 2020.

 

On October 9, 2020, an armed group ambushed a joint fact-finding team (TGPF) formed by the government to probe a shooting in Mamba village, Sugapa sub-district.

 

One of the fact-finding team members and a soldier were injured in the attack.

 

According to records of the Papua police headquarters, in the nine months till December, 2020, armed groups operating in Intan Jaya were involved in 17 cases of violence against civilians and security personnel.

 

According to the Papua police, six armed groups are currently active in Intan Jaya's areas, including Hipadipa sub-district. They are led by Sebinus Waker and reportedly possess 17 rifles. (INE)


Related news: Papua's Intan Jaya civil servant detained for arms trade: police

Related news: West Papua: Man held for stealing soldier's handgun


EDITED BY INE

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