Indonesian military, police continue Papua crackdown over soldier deaths

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Burial for the Indonesian soldiers
Burial for the Indonesian soldiers killed in an ambush by pro-independence West Papuan fighters at Kisor village. Image: Antara News Agency

By Rahmad Nasution in Jayapura

More than a week after four Indonesian soldiers were killed by pro-independence fighters in an attack on a military post in Kisor village, South Aifat sub-district, Maybrat district, West Papua, police have arrested two suspects and launched a manhunt for 17 others.

Also, a joint team of personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI) has continued to crack down on Papuan rebels operating in the area.

The XVIII/Kasuari Regional Military Command’s spokesperson, Colonel Hendra Pesireron, said that TNI soldiers had “secured” several villages.

The troops’ presence in villages had “restored the security situation” in Maybrat district, and guaranteed public safety, he claimed in a statement.

On 5 September 2021, TNI personnel engaged in a gunfight with several members of a pro-independence group in the neighborhood areas of East Aifat sub-district.

The rebels retreated into a thick forest to escape, Colonel Pesireron said.

Before the gunfight, the rebels destroyed a bridge, he said.

Kisor military post attacked
On Thursday, pro-independence rebels had ambushed several soldiers while they were sleeping at the Kisor military post.

Four soldiers—2nd Sergeant Amrosius, Chief Private Dirham, First Private Zul Ansari, and First Lieutenant Dirman—died in the attack, while two others suffered serious wounds.

The bodies of three soldiers had been found at the post, while the body of another soldier had been discovered in bush not far from the post.

Several local residents had fled their homes fearing for their safety.

On Friday, Indonesian police investigators named 19 alleged suspects in connection with the attack on the military post.

Rahmad Nasution is a journalist for the Indonesian news agency Antara.

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