359 terrorized Papuans in Intan Jaya take refuge in church

359 terrorized Papuans in Intan Jaya take refuge in church

Ilustrasi--Foto Lapangan Terbang Bilogai, Papua. (flyer.co.uk)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Some 359 residents of Intan Jaya, Papua, terrorized by a shooting of a villager, identified by his initials as RNR, by an armed criminal early this week took refuge in a church over safety concerns.

"Several police officers of Intan Jaya had come to the church and met with the refugees on Tuesday," Papua Police spokesperson Sen. Coms. Ahmad Kamal notified journalists in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Wednesday.

Most of those deciding to leave their homes and move to the church over fears of being targeted by members of the notorious armed criminal group are the residents of Bilogai Village of Sugapa Sub-district, he stated.

One of the refugees is a local community leader, he remarked, adding that they took refuge in the church over security and safety reasons.

"We want to live peacefully like our brothers and sisters in other areas in Papua," Tomas, one of the refugees, stated.

To this end, Tomas was quoted by Kamal as saying that the villagers support the presence of police and military personnel in their village since they feel terrorized by the armed criminals operating near their village.

A Bilogai villager, identified by his initials as RNR, was shot at close range by an armed criminal at 5:30 p.m. on Monday and sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder.

According to Kamal, RNR was rushed to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika District on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old was admitted to the village's public health center for emergency treatment not long after the incident, he remarked.

Following the shooting, a joint team of police and military personnel conducted patrols in the village and Sugapa City, he stated.

RNR's wife, identified as M, confirmed that the assailant was unknown to them. Kamal revealed that M told the police of the attacker having appeared from a street behind their house on Monday. He approached RNR and told him that he wanted to sell kerosene.

The perpetrator told M that he was not carrying a jerry can and asked her to give him one. However, no sooner had she turned, he pointed a short rifle at her husband and opened fire, Kamal stated.

M screamed for help, but the attacker had escaped, he stated.

In connection with the probe into the shooting, the police have summoned M and her neighbor, identified as L, he remarked.

The Indonesian province of Papua has borne 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 two 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 have occurred this year. On January 10, 2021, for instance, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight in the Titigi area of Intan Jaya District.

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