13 Jul 2018

Hostilities continue in Nduga, Papua

2:51 pm on 13 July 2018

Indonesian security forces in Papua province have engaged in more gunfire exchanges with an armed wing of the Free West Papua Movement.

Hostilities in Nduga regency were sparked two weeks ago during regional elections when three people were killed in an attack on police at the local airport.

A faction of the West Papua National Liberation Army, or TPN, claimed responsibility for that attack, following which about 100 police deployed to Nduga to take up the pursuit.

According to Indonesian state media reports, assailants referred to by Indonesian authorities as an armed criminal group on Wednesday fired at a police helicopter while it was dropping food at Alguru in Nduga.

Alguru is a rural village controlled by the TPN, according to Papuan media outlets including Tabloid Jubi who reported that shots were fired from the helicopter.

The Regent of Nduga, Yarius Gwijangge, said the pursuit of the armed Papuan group by Indonesian security forces was ongoing but that there had been no casualties from the latest exchanges.

However he has asked police not to shoot from the air because it was feared this could lead to civilian casualties

Meanwhile, the incumbent governor of Papua province, Lukas Enembe, has been re-elected after the conclusion of regional elections.

According to the Jakarta Post, Mr Enembe won with around 1.9 million votes or around 67.54 percent.

Indonesia's ruling Democratic Party of Struggle had earlier supported Mr Enembe's challenger in the election, John Wempi Wetipo.