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Police chief shot dead – call to step up operations in West Papua

Indonesian forces

Indonesian security forces staking out the Third Papuan People's Congress in Jayapura last week. At least six people were reported killed after troops opened fire at the rally.Photo: West Papua Media

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

Indonesia’s national police has called on its Papua division to step up its operations in efforts to secure the province following a recent spate of violence, much of it involving its own officers.

National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam said his team had also asked the Indonesian military (TNI) to pursue a pro-independence group suspected to have been behind the fatal shooting of the Mulia Airport police chief yesterday, reports the Jakarta Post.

“We have already made an order to increase our [number of] personnel,” Anton said as quoted by kompas.com.

He added that the police were considering announcing a state of emergency following several shootings in Papua.

But the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) has denied police allegations that this pro-independence group was responsible for the murder of the Mulia police chief Adj. Comr. Dominggus Awes on Monday.

“We are not responsible for that. I don’t know about it – it must be crosschecked. They should not be making accusations like that,” OPM coordinator Lambertus Pekikir said, according to  tempointeraktif.com.

He said the police would have to arrest the perpetrators and question them before making such accusations.

‘Lots of fake OPMs’
Lambertus explained that even if the individuals who had carried out the attack claimed to be OPM members, the organisation would not assume responsibility for their actions.

“There are lots of fake OPMs. Anyone can just make a Morning Star flag and write up documents, but whether they are real (members) or not must be ascertained,” he said.

He said he would trust the Indonesian police in handling the case.

Awes was reportedly standing in front of a plane at the Puncak Jaya airport at 11.30am yesterday when two unidentified gunmen lunged at him and pinned him down before shooting him in the head.

His body was taken to the Mulia hospital before being transferred to Jayapura.

Insp. Gen. Anton said eight people had died over the past few weeks in Papua.

Earlier, at least six people were found dead after an incident at the Third Papuan People’s Congress, with various reports that police had shot at participants.

Police have denied that excessive force was used, despite multiple accounts of officers bashing Congress participants with batons and the butts of their rifles and the discovery of six bodies near a military post.

Also in Papua, while Insp. Gen Anton said two people had been killed, news agencies have reported at least seven people have died during a recent strike over low wages at the US-owned Freeport McMoRan mine, after three more deaths were cited yesterday.

Unidentified gunmen killed the three people near the Grasberg mine – the world’s largest,  a report by the state news agency Antara said. One of the dead was a contract worker who had worked at the mine for 20 years.

Source: Jakarta Post and agencies

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    […] escalated in Jayapura last week after Indonesian security forces opened fire during a rally that resulted in the shooting of a police chief. Six deaths have been reported with unconfirmed numbers of […]