JAYAPURA, KOMPAS.com – The ongoing insurgency in Papua has taken a new twist, after the Indonesian military confirmed reports that an army serviceman recently defected to insurgents or so-called ‘Armed Criminal Groups’ or KKB.
Indonesian Army operations officer Brigadier General Suswatyo said the soldier, who was identified as Private First Class Lucky Y. Matuan or Lukius of the 400th Raider Battalion, joined insurgents at the Intan Jaya regency, a known hotspot for the insurgency.
“Private First Class Lukius went AWOL [absent without leave] during the 400th Raider Battalion’s deployment in Intan Jaya, where the unit was posted from August 2020 to March 2021,” said Suswatyo, who, like many Indonesians, go by one name.
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“He was unarmed when he went [over to the insurgents]. We hope that Lukius’s defection will not substantially add to the KKB’s strength or ability to pose a security risk,” he added. Suswatyo did not specifically disclose the date of Private Lukius’ defection.
The one-star general vowed that the military will give no quarter to Lukius. “We regard Lukius as a traitor, because he deserted and joined the insurgents in Intan Jaya. We also registered him as one of the insurgents in Intan Jaya,” Suswatyo maintained.
“The armed forces will take firm action [against Lukius] if we encounter him, as he joined the insurgents in taking up arms [against Indonesia].”
Meanwhile, the KKB in Papua’s Puncak regency has killed a high school student, as the insurgents continued to target civilians.
“The deceased, who was identified as 16-year old Ali Mom, was found dead in the village of Uloni in [Puncak Jaya’s] Ilaga district on Friday morning,” said Police spokesman Grand Police Attendant Iqbal Alqudussy in a press release.
“Our investigations indicated that the prime suspect is Lerry Mayu Telenggens, a member of the Lekagak Telenggen KKB group. Previously, he was known to order Ali to buy him betel nut and cigarettes the previous day.”
Iqbal added that investigators intercepted text messages from Lerry Mayu that he “informed his fellow insurgents that he ‘whacked’ an individual in Puncak Jaya. However, he was unsure if the person that he killed was a member of the Indonesian security forces or a civilian,“ he said.
“We can reasonably assume that Lerry Mayu shot and stabbed Ali to death. He has mistaken Ali to be a soldier or policeman, even though the latter approached with the items he ordered.”
The KKB’s killing of Ali is their latest concerted attack on civilians, specifically on teachers and educational facilities such as schools in the town of Beoga.
The killings caused the townspeople, many of whom hailed from areas outside Papua, to request Indonesian authorities to evacuate them from the town.
(Writer: Dhias Suwandi, Jayapura Contributor | Editors: Dheri Agriesta, Robertus Belarminus)
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