Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - An armed criminal was killed in a gunfight with Indonesian army personnel in Eromaga Village, Omukia Subdistrict, Puncak District, Central Papua Province, on Friday (Oct 20), a military officer has informed.

The victim might belong to the Titus Murib-led criminal group operating in the Kepala Air neighborhood area, said Lt.Col. Afri Swandi Ritonga, the Commander of 300/Brajawijaya Infantry Battalion Task Force, in a statement on Saturday.

The exchange of fire broke out on Friday, a day after the armed criminals assaulted 23 workers at the construction site of the Omukia public health center project on Thursday (Oct 19), he said.

Ritonga said that prior to the gunfight, he had put his personnel on standby to hunt down the criminals responsible for the attack that killed a worker and injured two others, he said.

On Friday at around 03:00 p.m. local time, his soldiers detected that the armed criminals -- several armed with rifles and guns -- began intimidating local residents around Eromaga Village.

Ritonga then ordered several army personnel to chase the criminals. In order to reach the village, which is about four kilometers away from Ilaga, the soldiers had to walk for one and a half hours.

The manhunt took place for around six hours and, in a gunfight, one of the criminals was killed due to a bullet that hit his back, he said.

The deceased criminal was carried by his friends into the jungle. During the operation, the soldiers secured several items belonging to the criminals, including a drone, handheld transceivers (HT), and mobile phones, he said.

In another development, 53 residents of Eronggobak Village in Omukia Subdistrict have sought refuge at the task force's Eromaga Post since Friday evening.

They left their homes due to fear of the armed Papuan criminal group operating in Omukia Subdistrict, following Thursday's ambush which killed a worker and injured two other workers.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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