"MS has denied his involvement in the brutal assault on the meatball soup vendor on Sunday (April 18)," Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Fakhiri stated.
MS, one of the two suspects arrested by the local police for their alleged involvement in the attack, blamed Niko Magai, an armed Papuan criminal, according to Fakhiri.
The police investigators could not yet accept the suspect's claim of Magai, a member of the Jadi Walker-led armed criminal group, in the assault, he stated here on Tuesday.
The Intan Jaya police investigators plan to double verify MS' claim by summoning several witnesses, Fakhiri noted.
Regarding the assault on Asep Saputra, the meatball soup vendor, the Intan Jaya police arrested MS and AS for their alleged involvement in the brutal attack.
The two suspects reportedly rode a motorcycle to the place where the vendor, Asep Saputra, sold soup, at around 2:30 p.m. local time on Sunday.
They allegedly assaulted Saputra and fled, leaving their motorcycle behind. Local police officers rushed to the scene and seized the motorcycle.
Saputra was taken to Nabire on Monday (April 19) for medical treatment.
Papua Province has been witness to a string of violent attacks by armed groups targeting civilians and security personnel in the past two years.
On April 8, 2021, several armed Papuan rebels reportedly opened fire at a kiosk in Julukoma Village, Beoga Sub-district, Puncak District, at about 9:30 a.m. local time.
The shooting resulted in the death of a Beoga public elementary school teacher, Oktovianus Rayo.
After killing Rayo, the armed attackers torched three classrooms at the Beoga public senior high school.
On April 9, 2021, armed rebels reportedly shot another teacher, Yonatan Randen, on the chest.
Several villagers tried to save the junior high school teacher and rushed him to the Beoga public health center, but he succumbed to his injuries.
On April 11, 2021, armed criminals reportedly set ablaze nine classrooms at the Beoga public junior high school.
Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Fakhiri has vowed to trace those responsible for the deaths of the two teachers.
"The TNI (Indonesian military) and police personnel will never retreat even a single step in enforcing the law against the killers," Fakhiri asserted in Timika last week.
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