Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papuan insurgents who continue to pose threats in the Papua region use civilians as human shields, Commander of Joint Defense Regional Command (Kogabwilhan) III Lt Gen. Richard T. H. Tampubolon said.

Members of the Undius Kogoya-led rebel group, for instance, had ever used residents of Bibida Sub-district in Paniai District, Central Papua, as their human shields before the TNI reclaimed the area from them, he said.

The TNI personnel continue to restore security, law and order in Bibida following their success in reclaiming the sub-district area from the Undius Kogoya-led insurgents on Friday, June 14, Tampubolon said.

To help recover the affected residents, the soldiers conducted humanitarian works in the sub-district area, he said in a press statement published here on Saturday.

Tampubulon, however, did not provide details of the humanitarian works the army personnel have been carrying out in the sub-district's area.

Prior to the TNI's success in reclaiming the Bibida area, the army personnel involved in a gunfight with the rebels, he said, adding that none of local residents fell victim to the shootout.

Prior to the shootout, on Tuesday (June 11), the Undius Kogoya-led rebels shot dead a driver named Rusli, 40, and burned him and his car in Paniai Timur Subdistrict, Paniai District.

After killing the ill-fated driver, the insurgents moved to Bibida Sub-district, where they engaged in a gunfight with the TNI personnel, he said.

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.

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

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.

Related news: Papuan rebels attack soldiers patrolling Bibida Village: Military

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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