Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Operation Peace Cartenz Task Force personnel arrested eight suspected Papuan rebels in Dekai Sub-district, Yahukimo District, Papua Pegunungan Province, on early Thursday, April 11.

The suspects belong to the armed groups of Kopi Tua Heluka and Yotam Bugiangge operating in the Yahukimo area, chief of the task force's operational affairs, Senior Commissioner Faizal Rahmadani, stated here, Thursday.

Two of them are identified as Afrika Heluka, the Kopi Tua Heluka leader, and Toni Wetapo alias Toni Giban, a Yotam Bugiangge group member, while six others have yet to be identified, he remarked.

The task force's personnel raided them at a house in the Kali Go neighborhood area, he noted, adding that Afrika Heluka was involved in several shootings in 2022 and 2023.

On November 29, 2022, Heluka was involved in a shooting incident on Nov 29, 2022, which ended with the death of a police officer and serious wounds to another police officer, he pointed out.

On December 30, 2022, the suspect was also involved in the shooting of the Yahukimo police precinct. On March 1, 2023, he attacked a military officer and assaulted a Trinaga Air's plane on March 11, 2023.

Meanwhile, Toni Wetapo was involved in the killings of 13 illegal gold miners on October 16, 2023, and an attack on an aircraft of Wings Air on February 17, 2024, Rahmadani stated.

During the raid, the task force's personnel seized several weapons, including five machetes and an air rifle, he added.

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, Puncak, and Maybrat to incite 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, for instance, a group of armed Papuan separatists brutally killed 31 workers from PT Istaka Karya engaged in the Trans Papua project in Kali Yigi and Kali Aurak in Yigi Sub-district, Nduga District.

Early in the morning of September 2, 2021, several members of a Papuan separatist terrorist group operating in Maybrat District ambushed soldiers while they were asleep at the Kisor military post. The post is located at Kisor Village, South Aifat Sub-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.

Philip was piloting an aircraft belonging to Indonesian airline Susi Air when the armed group captured him. Members of the group set his plane on fire shortly after it landed in Nduga District. (INE) EDITED BY INE
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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Atman Ahdiat
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