Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Amid armed groups unleashing a spate of violence in Papua, the national police chief has approved Papua Police chief, Insp.Gen.Paulus Waterpauw, as the commandant of the Nemangkawi Task Force. Announcing the decision here on Wednesday, Waterpauw said it would allow for better and easier coordination of security and public order functions. The task force's office has also been moved from Timika in Mimika district to Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, he told ANTARA.

Waterpauw said Papua's security and public order situation has mostly remained conducive, but security disturbances have been reported sporadically from several areas where armed Papuan groups operate, such as Intan Jaya district.

According to reports, several notorious armed Papuan groups operate around Intan Jaya, including the one led by Sabinus Waker, he informed.

Armed groups operating from the district have been repeatedly involved in gunfights with security personnel, he said adding, they have also gone on a shooting rampage targeting innocent civilians.

To deal with this security challenge, a plan had been formulated to send more personnel to the district, but it has remained hampered by limited availability of facilities there, Waterpauw informed.

ANTARA has reported that the security operation "Operation Nemangkawi" was launched in 2019 following the massacre of 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi sub-district, Nduga district, on December 2, 2018.

Armed Papuan rebels, who were reportedly behind the brutal killings of the Trans Papua construction workers, also killed a soldier, identified as Handoko, and injured two other security personnel, Sugeng and Wahyu.

Papua has been witness to a repeated cycle of violence, with armed groups in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak targeting civilians and security personnel over the past two years.

Early this week, an armed rebel reportedly shot a 32-year-old man at close range in Bilogai village in Sugapa sub-district, Puncak district.

The man, identified as Rusman HR alias Aco, a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver, was stabbed to death by six armed Papuans in a street near Ilambet village in Ilaga sub-district, Puncak district, Papua.

He sustained serious stab wounds on the back and died of exsanguination while trying to escape his attackers. Rusman's body was flown to Timika on an Asian One Air plane on Wednesday.

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 continued this year. On January 10, 2021, for instance, an Indonesian soldier died in a gunfight in the Titigi area of Intan Jaya district.

On January 6, 2021, 10 armed Papuan criminals reportedly vandalized and torched a Quest Kodiak aircraft belonging to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) at the Pagamba village airstrip.

The armed men, led by Sabinus Waker, allegedly set ablaze the utility aircraft, bearing the registration number PK-MAX, not long after its American pilot Alek Luferchek disembarked two passengers.

The torching of the civilian aircraft was a brutal act since MAF planes have, since decades, conducted a noble mission for Papuan communities, Commander of the Cenderawasih Military Command, Maj. Gen. Ignatius Yogo Triyono, said. (INE)

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2021