The assault got here as a unit of troopers tried to seek for a New Zealand pilot captured by Papuan separatists in February.
The ‘Morning Star’ flag utilized by the Papuan independence motion.
Credit score: Flickr/AK Rockefeller
Indonesia’s navy has confirmed that three troopers lacking since a weekend ambush by separatist fighters in a distant a part of upland Papua have been discovered lifeless.
On April 15, fighters from the West Papua Nationwide Liberation Military (TPNPB), the armed wing of the Free Papua Motion, opened fireplace on a bunch of 36 troopers on patrol in Nduga Regency, a middle of separatist exercise in Highland Papua province. In line with some worldwide media studies, at the least six died and 21 others fled into the jungle following the assault, whereas 9 troopers are believed to have been captured by the rebels.
Initially, military spokespeople solely confirmed one dying – that of a soldier who was shot and fell right into a ravine. In an announcement, Papua navy spokesperson Col. Herman Taryaman confirmed that the our bodies of this soldier, and the three recovered since “have been evacuated” from the world. 5 wounded troops who have been discovered the day gone by had additionally been airlifted out. The Indonesian military says that the remaining troops have returned to their close by base.
The troopers have been patrolling the world in an try and find and rescue the New Zealand pilot Captain Philip Merthens, who was kidnapped by TPNPB rebels on February 7, after touchdown a small airplane at Paro Airport in Nduga. The separatists mentioned that Merthens would not be released till the Indonesian authorities acknowledged Papua’s independence, the purpose of native independence fighters because the Sixties. Jakarta has pledged a harsh response to the kidnapping, the primary that Papuan rebels have dedicated since 1996.
The announcement got here a day after Adm. Yudo Margono, Indonesia’s navy chief, dismissed a TPNPB declare that greater than a dozen authorities troopers has been killed through the ambush. In an announcement on Monday, insurgent spokesperson Sebby Sambom mentioned within the TPNPB fighters have been in possession of the remains of the 12 soldiers, together with 9 who he mentioned “have been arrested and executed” after being captured within the ambush.
Yudo and different high-ranking navy officers flew to Papua on Monday. “I’m right here to seek out out straight and precisely from our troops on the bottom concerning the actual state of affairs, in order that we will consider our mission for the pilot,” Margono told a news conference in Timika, a city in neighboring Central Papua province.
Mehrtens’ seize has intensified battle between the TPNPB and the Indonesian navy in Papua, which has simmered because the area was included into the Indonesian republic following a referendum in 1969. Independence activists declare that this “Act of Free Choice” was in reality tightly circumscribed and didn’t mirror the desires of the area’s indigenous inhabitants.
The kidnapping is indicative of how the battle has intensified over the previous decade, because the Indonesian state has elevated its efforts to economically and politically combine the area, by way of the event of transport infrastructure and the encouragement of transmigration from different elements of the archipelago.
Sambom mentioned in an earlier assertion that separatists carried out the assault in response to Indonesia’s “huge navy operation” in Papua and the killing of two rebels in a shootout with safety forces final month, according to The Related Press.
Certainly, the area seems to be locked right into a spiral of battle that exhibits no signal of slowing, let alongside reversing. All indications are that the Indonesian authorities will reply to this newest insurgent assault by redoubling its efforts to eradicate the resistance motion by pressure. All of this virtually ensures an extra response.