Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesia's military and police personnel will respond to an open warfare if ever challenged by the armed Papuan criminal groups as long as innocent civilians are not involved in it, a top police officer stated.

"The TNI and National Police are ready (for the challenge) but can the 'KKB' (armed criminal groups) be guaranteed to not get civilians involved in it (the war)?" Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw stated here on Monday.

Waterpauw made the statement in response to ANTARA's question on a challenge of engaging in an open warfare with the Indonesian security personnel as ever declared by several armed Papuan criminals in Nduga District, Papua Province.

ANTARA noted that several armed members of the Free Papua Organization (OPM) challenged the Indonesian security personnel to engage in an open warfare in Nduga District on a video uploaded on a YouTube channel in November 2020.

Waterpauw emphasized that if the notorious armed criminals could guarantee to not involve innocent civilians in battles, the military and police officers would crackdown on them in a fierce and measurable manner.

Waterpauw expressed his deep condolences over the demise of a soldier from the 400/BR Infantry Battalion in a gunfight with several armed criminals in Mamba Village, Sugapa Sub-district, Intan Jaya District, on Monday morning.

"We deeply condole the passing away of Private-2 Ginanjar in the gunfight, and we continue to closely work with the XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command and task forces to support the police's law enforcement-related duties," he remarked.

Ginanjar's coffin was transported to Timika, the capital of Mimika District, Papua Province, to be sent to his hometown for burial, he revealed.

The Indonesian province of Papua has borne witness to a recurrent cycle of violence, with armed Papuan groups in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak targeting civilians and security personnel over the past two years.

In facing the Indonesian security personnel, the armed criminals often conduct hit-and-run tactics, while in creating public fear, they campaign acts of terror against civilians.

On February 9, 2021, a motorcycle taxi (ojek) driver was stabbed to death by six armed Papuans.

The 40-year-old driver, identified as Rusman HR alias Aco, was reportedly stabbed on a street near Ilambet Village in Ilaga Sub-district, Puncak District.

The driver sustained serious stab wounds on the back and died of exsanguination while attempting to escape his attackers, according to the local police.

On Feb 8, an armed rebel also shot a 32-year-old man at close range in Bilogai Village in Sugapa Sub-district, Puncak District.

The victim, identified by his initials as RNR, sustained gunshot wounds on the face and right shoulder and was taken to the Timika Public Hospital in Mimika District on Feb 9.
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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2021