Papuan rebels kill construction worker in Indonesia
Security forces say the killing of a civilian was revenge for the killing of two prominent rebels last week
The body of Samsul Sattu arrives in his hometown of Tanah Toraja in South Sulawesi province on April 26 for burial. He was shot dead by armed separatists in Papua on April 25. (Photo: Damai Cartenz Task Force)
A construction worker has been killed in an attack by armed separatists in Indonesia’s Papua province, in retaliation for the recent killing of two rebels by security forces, police said.
The shooting took place in Erogama, a remote village in Puncak district, police spokesman Ahmad Mustofa Kamal said on April 26.
Samsul Sattu, 45, from Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi province, was shot dead while drinking coffee outside his home with two friends on 25 April.
The shooting was likely in response to the killing of two members of the West Papua National Liberation Army and Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) last week by security forces, Kamal said.
TPNPB-OPM commander Luki Murib and Badaki Kogoya were both killed on April 23 in the same village as Sattu.
Kamal said Murib was killed because he was involved in the killing of Papua Regional Intelligence Chief Brigadier General I Gusti Putu Danny Karya Nugraha on April 25, 2021, in Beoga, Papua.
“It feels like by sending more police and military to the area, Jakarta doesn’t want to solve the problem in Papua, which makes the local people more uncomfortable and vulnerable”
The killing of the intelligence chief, the highest-ranking officer to die in the decades-old separatist insurgency, has sparked an escalation in the conflict – with more troops deployed – that has claimed dozens of lives, including civilians.
A marine was shot dead and several others were injured on April 22 when rebels ambushed their patrol in Nduga district.
TPNPB-OPM spokesman Sebby Sambom said Sattu was killed because he was a foreigner who should not have been on its territory.
The rebels gave a similar reason for killing eight technicians who were repairing an isolated telecommunications tower in the area early last month.
Father John Bunay, coordinator of the Papua Peace Network, said civilians were becoming increasingly vulnerable in the conflict.
“It seems that by sending more police and military to the region, Jakarta does not want to solve the problem in Papua, which makes the local population more uncomfortable and vulnerable,” he said. he told UCA News.
“We hope that President Joko Widodo can reduce the security forces in the region and give dialogue a chance.”