Timika, C Papua (ANTARA) - A shootout between Indonesian soldiers and armed rebels that broke out in a market area of Sinak Sub-district, Puncak District, Central Papua, early this week, resulted in injuries to a separatist.

The wounded rebel was rescued by his colleagues, who managed to escape from the gunfight to Nigilome Village, Commander of Joint Defense Regional Command (Kogabwilhan) III Lt Gen. Richard T. H. Tampubolon stated.

The separatists, who belong to the Kalenak Murib group, fled to the village through a riverbank, he remarked in Timika, the capital of Mimika District, Central Papua, on Wednesday.

The troops engaging in the shootout belong to the Indonesian Military's (TNI's) Habema Operations Command, he noted, adding that the shootout broke out when they attempted to expel the rebels from the Sinak market area.

The soldiers were aware of the rebels' presence in the market area after several panic-stricken residents fled the place and reported their presence to them, Tampubolon stated.

Several soldiers were then deployed to the market area and engaged in a gunfight with the rebels, who had often forced the residents to provide staple food stocks and money and would be tortured over non-compliance with their demands, he pointed out.

The shootouts between the Indonesian soldiers and armed Papuan rebels have continued to occur in Central Papua Province over the past two weeks.

At the end of May, the TNI troops hit back at three armed rebels who often terrorized residents of Bazemba Village in Sugapa Sub-district, Intan Jaya District.

Related news: Indonesian troops fight back three armed Papuan rebels in Intan Jaya

Over the past few years, armed rebel 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 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, an armed Papuan group 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.

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 Zealand 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 group operating in Intan Jaya District, Central Papua.

A Brimob ranger named Alfando Steve Karamoy sustained gunshot wounds in the clash.

Thereafter, on April 10, 2024, the commandant of the 1703-04 Aradide Sub-district Military Command, Second Lieutenant Oktovianus Sogalrey, was shot dead by Papuan rebels in Paniai District, Central Papua.

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Translator: Agustina, EJ, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Aditya Eko Sigit Wicaksono
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