Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Eight days after four soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack on a military post in Kisor village, South Aifat sub-district, Maybrat district, West Papua police have arrested two suspects and launched a manhunt for 17 others.

In the meantime, a joint team of personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI) has continued to crack down on Papuan separatist terrorists operating in the area.

The XVIII/Kasuari Regional Military Command's spokesperson, Colonel Hendra Pesireron, disclosed that TNI soldiers have secured several villages from members of the separatist terrorist groups.

The troops' presence in villages has restored the security situation in Maybrat district, and guaranteed public safety, he said in a statement released on Wednesday.

On September 5, 2021, TNI personnel engaged in a gunfight with several members of a notorious separatist terrorist group in the neighborhood areas of East Aifat sub-district.

They, however, retreated into a thick forest to escape, Pesireron informed. Prior to the exchange of fire, the separatist terrorists destroyed a bridge, he said.

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Early last Thursday (September 2, 2021), members of an unidentified terrorist group had ambushed several soldiers while they were sleeping at the Kisor military post.

Four soldiers—2nd Sergeant Amrosius, Chief Private Dirham, First Private Zul Ansari, and First Lieutenant Dirman—had died in the attack, while two others had sustained serious injuries.

The bodies of three soldiers had been found at the post, while the body of another soldier had been discovered in the bushes not far from the post.

Owing to the incident, several local residents had fled their homes fearing their safety.

On Friday (September 10, 2021), West Papua police investigators named 19 suspects in connection with the attack on the military post.

Related news: W Papua governor urges residents to help capture killers of soldiers

Two of the 19 suspects, identified by their initials as MY (20) and MS (18), have been placed under police custody. MY is a resident of Boksu village, while MS is a resident of Insum village in South Aifat sub-district, according to West Papua Police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Adam Erwindi.

The 17 other suspects for whom a manhunt has been launched have been identified as Silas Ki, Manfred Fatem, Musa Aifat, Setam Kaaf, Titus Sewa, Irian Ki, Alfin Fatem, Agus Kaaf, Melkias Ki, Melkias Same, Amos Ki, Musa Aifat, Moses Aifat, Martinus Aisnak, Yohanes Yaam, Agus Yaam, and Robi Yaam, he said.

West Papua police have released the names of the 17 suspects based on the confessions of MY and MS to the investigators of South Sorong police precinct, Erwindi informed.

The September 2 ambush was thoroughly planned and organized by members of the West Papua National Committee operating in Kisor neighborhood of Maybrat district, he said.

Therefore, the police has classified the assault as a premeditated crime by the KNPB-Kisor chapter, led by Silas Ki, he added.

A joint team of personnel from the Indonesian Military and National Police are continuing their efforts to arrest all perpetrators, he said.

To this end, local residents have been requested to inform security personnel if they have information on the suspects' whereabouts, Erwindi said.

Referring to the attack on the military post, West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan had earlier appealed to residents of Kisor village to help security personnel capture the killers of the four soldiers.

Mandacan, who visited the scene of the shooting on September 4, 2021, also asked Kisor villagers who had fled to the forest to return home and resume their normal lives.

"The villagers do not need to panic or take refuge in the forest because the government works with the military and police to ensure public safety and security," he said.

On the sidelines of the governor's visit to the Kisor military post, Commander of the XVIII/Kasuari Regional Military Command, Maj.Gen. I Nyoman Castiasa, and West Papua Police chief, Insp.Gen.Tornagogo Sihombing, had promised to guarantee public safety and security in Maybrat district.

"Our mission is to hunt down and arrest the perpetrators. So, members of communities need not be afraid of our presence because we are there to defend and protect the people," Castiasa said.

To persuade those who have fled their villages to return home, Indonesian soldiers are using the indigenous language of the Aifat ethnic group.

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The soldiers have posted and distributed pamphlets urging refugees to return home and asking local residents to stay calm, Pesireron said.

"The TNI fully guarantees public security so locals are urged to resume their daily activities in their villages. We are speaking to them in their own language," he remarked.

According to Pesireron, TNI personnel are responsible for maintaining the state's sovereignty and protecting locals from the threat posed by Papuan separatist terrorists.

"The KNPB had once existed in the Aifat neighborhood areas and propagated a seed of anti-regional development but the KNPB has no longer been there since the presence of TNI and police personnel," he added.

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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