Jakarta (ANTARA) - People's Consultative Assembly (MPR RI) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo lauded the decision of Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Admiral Yudo Margono to upgrade the status of military operations in Papua to battle standby.

"We ask the TNI commander and all officials to be firm and not hesitate in acting against KKBs (armed criminal groups) perpetrating anarchist actions, threatening, and causing loss of lives of residents and officers in Papua," Soesatyo noted as per the statement here on Tuesday (April 18).

On Saturday (April 15), Papuan separatists ambushed TNI officers sweeping a region in Mugi Sub-district, Nduga District, Highland Papua, to search for New Zealander pilot of Susi Air Phillip Mehrtens abducted since February.

The incident caused the death of one TNI officer, First Private Miftahul Arifin, while four other officers suffered gunshot and fall wounds.

In response to the escalating KKB attacks in Papua, Admiral Margono decided to elevate the military operation tactic from a soft approach to battle standby in areas prone to attack.

"On account of the April-15 attack, we decided to escalate (our tactic) from soft approach to battle standby," the TNI commander said as quoted in a TNI statement on Tuesday.

Soesatyo remarked that the incident highlighted the need for the TNI and police to ensure the safety and security of officers deployed to rescue the Susi Air pilot.

"Optimum protection from the risks of continued harassment and threats from KKB's anarchist actions must also be provided," the speaker remarked.

Meanwhile, he also urged the military to mobilize more personnel to provide security in Papua and, along with the police, identify and map armed criminal groups' attack patterns.

"Hence, we can determine the correct strategy to ensure that the TNI and police can protect local civilians while combating violence perpetrated by KKBs," Soesatyo remarked.

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Translator: Fath Putra Mulya, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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