Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesian police and military personnel were tracking down members of an armed Papuan group who had shot at an aircraft of Wings Air, a member of Lion Air group, on Saturday, a police officer said.

All people boarding the passenger aircraft survived the incident that occurred at Nop Goliath Airport in Dekai Sub-district, Yahukimo District, Papua Pegunungan (Papua Highland) Province, Papua Police Chief Insp.Gen.Mathius Fakhiri said.

A bullet penetrated the aircraft's left fuselage and its splinter hit the neck of a passanger sitting at seat row 19 A. As a result, he suffered a minor injury, he told ANTARA in Jayapura City on Saturday (February 17).

The aircraft carrying 36 passengers was shot at about 01:20 p.m. local time when approaching the airport's runway for landing, he said, adding that the armed attackers were being hunted down.

Fakhiri, however, said he had yet to receive reports on the armed group that was responsible for the assault on the passenger aircraft that flew from Sentani Airport in Jayapura District to Yahukimo District.

The Wings Air aircraft had flown back safely to Jayapura via Timika District, he added.

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 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.

Since February 7, 2023, New Zealander pilot Philip Mark Mehrtens has been 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.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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