By Benny Mawel in Jayapura
Three officers from the Mamberamo Raya Police force have died while two others sustained wounds following a reported clash with military personnel in Mamberamo Raya regency of Papua yesterday morning.
“Two police officers were killed in the clash. However, we have received a report that another officer succumbed to his injuries at the hospital this morning,” Papua police chief Inspector General Paulus told The Jakarta Post.
He added the incident was caused by a “misunderstanding” between the police officers and military personnel in the regency on Saturday.
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A family member of one of the deceased victims, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said the incident occurred when more than a dozen Memberamo Raya Police officers went to the Infantry Batallion (Yonif) 755 task force post in Kasonaweja at 7.15 am on Sunday following an alleged beating of their colleague by military personnel.
Two days earlier, a police officer identified as Chief Brigadier Petrus Duow reportedly agreed to rent a motorbike from a local ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver for Rp 50,000 (US$3.49) an hour.
However, the police officer only paid Rp 50,000 after borrowing the motorbike for three hours.
Amid the heated argument between Petrus and the ojek driver, other ojek drivers called personnel of Yonif 755 task force to come. Ten military personnel arrived and allegedly beat Petrus.
‘No revenge’ call
Memberamo Raya Police chief Adjutant Senior Commander Alexander Louw had told his subordinates not to seek revenge for the incident, saying he and the local military commander would work to resolve the matter.
However, around 20 police officers reportedly ignored the call and went to the military post in Kasonaweja on Sunday morning. A conflict ensued, with military personnel allegedly chasing after and shooting at the fleeing police officers.
Paulus said he had ordered the local police chief to transport the deceased and injured victims out of the area and told other officers and their families not to leave the police headquarters.
He added that he and Cenderawasih Military Command commander Major-General Herman Asaribab would go to Mamberamo Raya to resolve the conflict.
Cenderawasih Military Command spokesperson Colonel Eko Daryanto said the military command and the Papua Police had formed a joint team to investigate the incident, as quoted by kompas.com.
Benny Mawel reports for The Jakarta Post.