KOMPAS.com – The insurgency in Papua continues to take its toll on Indonesian security personnel in the beginning of 2021, as insurgents in the restive province killed two Indonesian soldiers during firefights on Friday, January 22.
Lieutenant Colonel Benny Wahyudi, the commander of the Indonesian Army’s 1705th Battalion covering the town of Nabire and other areas in the Intan Jaya regency, noted that the clash occurred at the Intan Jaya regency, the site of firefights against the insurgents over the past year.
“The insurgents, or Armed Criminal Groups [KKB], are commanded by wanted Papuan militant Sabinus Waker, descended from higher ground to attack the Army post at Titigi in the Sugapa district at 7 am, Benny told Kompas.com.
“[The soldiers on Titigi] repulsed two attacks in the morning and afternoon. The insurgents killed Private First Class Roy Vebrianto in the first assault, after they mortally hit on his right chest.”
Indonesian Army spokesman Colonel IGN Suriastawa added that the military suffered its second fatality hours later. “The insurgents killed Private First Class Dedi Hamdani in the afternoon as his unit advanced from their post at Hitadipa to relieve Titipi,” he asserted.
“Both men were from the Army’s 400th Raider [Specialized] Infantry Battalion, the so-called ‘Banteng’ [Bulls]. We airlifted their remains via helicopter from Bilogai Airport in the town of Sugapa to the Mimika regency.”
Lieutenant Colonel Benny asserted that Private Agus Kurniawan died on January 10, nearly two weeks before Roy and Dedi’s deaths.
The Intan Jaya regency has been the front line in the ongoing conflict between the Indonesian military and insurgents, whom they referred to as ‘Armed Criminal Groups’, over the past year. Indonesian officials attributed many of the attacks to Sabinus Waker.
The conflict is controversial because of the civilian deaths caught in the middle, among them Pastor Yeremia Zanambani, a cleric from the Moni tribe who translated the Bible into their tribal language.
Yeremia’s death has been surrounded by controversy since it occurred on September 19. The Indonesian military insisted that he was caught in the crossfire, while the KKB maintained that the Indonesian military actually executed Yeremia.
(Editor : Reza Kurnia Darmawan)