Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin urged members of the National Police (Polri) and Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to take a firm stand against armed criminal groups (KKB) in Papua.

Amin made the statement in response to the death of a TNI soldier, Private Miftahul Arifin, after being shot by KKB during the rescue of Susi Air Pilot Captain Philip Mark Mehrtens in Papua, Vice Presidential spokesperson Masduki Baidlowi noted in a written statement here, Tuesday.

"The vice president said that it is time for TNI-Polri members to be firm in sweeping and pursuing KKB members without disturbing civilians," Baidlowi emphasized.

He said that Vice President Amin believed the Papuan civilians strongly condemned all brutal actions by KKB that damaged the pillars of harmony and peace among the Papuan people, especially Highland Papuans.

According to Baidlowi, the vice president expressed his deep condolences over the death of Private Arifin while on duty to maintain national security and sovereignty in the Papua region.

Vice President Amin strongly condemned the KKB's acts of violence that again claimed the life of a TNI soldier in the midst of his struggle to protect the people and his humanitarian mission to save Captain Mehrtens, who was still being held hostage by the KKB, he stated.

"This is a tough test for the families and fellow TNI soldiers, who are left behind," he remarked.

However, the vice president is optimistic that the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of Private Arifin would inspire and motivate all parties to continue to realize peace in Papua, he remarked.

The efforts to realize this matter had been included in the government's agenda to build sustainable peace and stop prolonged conflicts, he noted.

"The vice president also appealed to all security forces currently on duty in Papua to not be daunted by this incident. They must remain on alert and courageous in facing the KKB's acts of violence," Baidlowi emphasized.

Vice President Amin also prayed for Private Arifin, who died a national hero, and also for his family and military colleagues, who were left behind, to be given strength and fortitude during this difficult time.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu A J, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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