Police, OPM insurgents exchange fire in Paniai region

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Police and members of the separatist OPM (Free Papua Organization) were involved in an exchange of fire in the Paniai region on Friday, a police spokesman said.

"The incident took place at 8 a.m Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT) on Friday," National Police Spokesman Insp. Gen Anton Bachrul Alam said here on Monday.

Recounting the chronology of the incident, Anton said the incident happened at 7.20 local time when about 16 OPM members, five of whom carried riffles, came to a Papua TV tower construction site.

"Brandishing a long-barrel fire arm, one of them approached construction workers Andi Laupe and Benediktus Brian and asked them to stop working," Anton said.

The workers soon afterwards reported to two police officers on duty at the Paniai district head`s house, namely First Brigadier Solihin and Second Brigadier Kristianto.

"Upon receiving the report, Solihin contacted the Paniai Police Resort chief who ordered a number of Paniai Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members to visit the scene," Anton said.

Upon arrival at the scene, the Brimob detail was greeted with a hail of bullets which forced the police to return the fire, he said.

"The OPM separatists then fled eastward. While they were hunting the OPM members, police found proof such as SS1 and Mouser ammunition as well as bayonets," Anton said.