Jakarta (ANTARA) - Residents need not be concerned by the military's decision to upgrade the status of military operations in several regions in Papua to battle standby, the Indonesian Defence Forces (TNI) Information Center has said.

"(Residents) need not be concerned by the term 'battle standby' because we have comprehensively devised the plan (and we will keep the operation from getting) reckless or out of control," head of the TNI Information Center, Rear Admiral Julius Widjojono, said at the TNI Headquarters here on Friday.

The combat status upgrade is necessary because the conflict in Papua region has not been resolved for more than half a century, he informed.

"The key is (that it has occurred) for 50 years. Even (the conflict) was not resolved during the Soeharto era, which, we all know, about his iron-fisted rule," the read admiral said.

Earlier, Widjojono assured that the battle standby status would be enforced only in vulnerable regions where armed separatist groups (KKB) constantly threaten the lives of locals and stationed troops.

"The battle standby (will be enforced) only in vulnerable regions marked as their operations center. Meanwhile, there will be no change to our armament equipment there," he said on Wednesday (April 19).

On April 15, 2023, Papuan separatists ambushed TNI officers sweeping a region in Mugi sub-district, Nduga district, Highland Papua, in search of Susi Air pilot Phillip Mehrtens, a New Zealand national who was abducted in February.

The ambush led to 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 Yudo Margono has decided to elevate the military operation tactic from a soft approach to battle standby in areas prone to attacks.

"On account of the April 15 attack, we decided to escalate (our tactic) from soft approach to battle standby," the TNI commander said in a statement issued by the TNI on April 18.

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Translator: Narda Margaretha, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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