Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesian police and military personnel were hunting down armed Papuan separatist terrorists who had grabbed an assault rifle and a magazine in Puncak District, Central Papua, on Thursday (Feb 1), according to the Papua police.

The stolen Pindad SS1-V1 rifle and magazine containing 20 5.56 mm bullets belong to the Aminggaru Airport's security post in Ilaga Sub-district, Papua Police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Ignatius Benny Prabowo stated.

The police had identified the armed criminals who snatched the firearm and ammunition when the airport's security post personnel were in the Ilaga market complex, Probowo remarked in Jayapura City on Friday.

A joint team of personnel from the police and military have been striving to get back the assault rifle and ammo since Thursday, he noted, adding that the armed criminals might have escaped to Mundidok Village.

The village, which is situated in Gome Sub-district, has been known as a stronghold of an armed Papuan separatist terrorist group operating in Puncak District, he revealed.

Prabowo stated that during the manhunt, security personnel were involved in a gunfight with several armed criminals near Mundidok Village while not revealing details about the exact number of those having grabbed the rifle and ammo.

Locals need to stay alert over the armed criminals' acts of terror, Prabowo added.

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ANTARA had earlier reported that over the past few years, armed Papuan groups have often employed hit-and-run tactics against Indonesian security personnel and mounted acts of terror against civilians in the districts of Intan Jaya, Nduga, and Puncak to stoke fear among the people.

The targets of such acts of terror have included construction workers, motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, teachers, students, street food vendors, and also civilian aircraft.

On December 2, 2018, a group of armed Papuan separatists brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya that were engaged in the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-district, Nduga District.

On March 2, 2022, several members of an armed Papuan group operating in Beoga Sub-district, Puncak District, killed eight Palaparing Timur Telematika (PTT) workers, who were repairing a base transceiver station (BTS) tower belonging to state-owned telecommunications operator Telkomsel.

On February 7, 2023, New Zealander pilot Phillip Mark Mehrtens was taken hostage by the Egianus Kogoya-led armed group. He was piloting an aircraft belonging to Indonesian airline Susi Air when he was captured by the armed group. Members of the group set his aircraft on fire shortly after it landed in Nduga District.

On October 16, 2023, Papuan separatists attacked several traditional gold miners in Yahukimo District, Papua Pegunungan Province, killing seven of them.

On November 25, 2023, four soldiers were killed in a gunfight with Papuan rebels in Paro Sub-district, Nduga District, Papua Province.

Thereafter, on January 19, 2024, a gunfight broke out between Indonesian security personnel and members of an armed separatist group operating in Intan Jaya District, Central Papua.

A Brimob ranger named Alfando Steve Karamoy sustained gunshot wounds in the gunfight. He succumbed to his injuries at Intan Jaya Public Hospital.

Karamoy was a National Police elite Mobile Brigade (Brimob) ranger assigned to the Operation Peace Cartenz Task Force in Central Papua Province.

Related news: Armed criminal in Central Papua killed in gunfight with army: Officer

Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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