Indonesia`s military to take tactical action against armed groups in Papua

"The tactical action includes to chase, apprehend and destroy," the deputy minister said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s Deputy Minister of Defense Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin has said the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) will take a firm stand by conducting tactical action against armed groups that killed eight military officers and five civilians in Papua on Thursday (Feb 21).

"The tactical action includes to chase, apprehend and destroy," the deputy minister said here on Friday.

He said the latest shootings by the separatist rebels did not affect TNI`s strategic policies in Papua. TNI so far did not have a plan to send more troops to Papua, he added.

In the defense field, the government has been using a territorial strategy which among other things focuses on the improvement of the people`s welfare and on the promotion of diplomacy of dialog.

However, TNI will respond with tactical action against armed groups that have committed crimes for killing both civilians and soldiers, he stated.

On the occasion, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro expressed his condolences on the deaths of the eight military officers in Papua.

The minister also expressed his concern because a TNI`s Puma helicopter which was about to evacuate the soldiers` bodies were shot several times by separatists in the Indonesian eastern most province.

"The evacuation of the remains has been hampered by bad weather and security disturbance," Yugsiantoro stated.

Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul, a TNI spokesman, said the bodies of the soldiers were still in Sinak, Puncak District, Papua Province, because the helicopter which would evacuate them, was shot by armed group members on Friday morning.

The helicopter`s pilot and co-pilot were uninjured in the shootings but a crew member, who is also a military officer, was wounded.

On Thursday (Feb 21), shooting incidents occurred in two different locations in Papua, killing eight military officers.

The first shooting incident by armed separatists happened in a TNI security post in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya District, on Thursday at 9.30 am local time. One military officer, Private Wahyu Bowo, was shot dead in the attack.

The second shooting incident occurred in Tanggulinik, Sinak, Puncak District, at 10.30 am local time. Ten military officers of Sinak military unit were shot and seven of them were killed in the attack, while the three others survive.

The fallen soldiers are First Sergeant M Udin, First Sergeant Frans, First Sergeant Edi, Chief Private Jojon, Chief Private Wemprik and Private Mustofa.(*)