JAYAPURA, KOMPAS.com – Health care workers in remote areas of Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua experienced physical violence and abuse by an armed criminal group (KKB) in the Kiwirok district, leaving one nurse dead and another staff missing.
They were on a humanitarian mission in a local health center when the attack occurred. Only a few days after, the nine health care workers were then evacuated by the Indonesian military (TNI) on Friday, September 17.
The health center is located in mountainous areas of Papua. It takes a 30-minute flight or two nights on foot from Oksibil, a nearby district. Proper roads between the two districts are yet available.
Attacks against medical facility, workers
One of the medical workers, Marselinus Ola Attanila, who survived the incident said that everyone could not do anything when the armed criminal group came to the Kiriwok Health Center.
“At that time, we were on standby at the Kiwirok Health Center as we were told that KKB would attack the border security post,” Ola said on Friday, September 17, in Jayapura.
“But dozens of KKB members attacked the health center first, breaking the glass and pouring petrol to burn the health center and other buildings nearby,” he recalled.
The KKB members then moved to a barrack where a doctor and three nurses were hiding. They burned down the barrack, forcing the health care workers to come out.
“Four of us were hiding in the bathroom. When we saw fire, we came out of the barrack. But, the KKB members who carried weapons and arrows were waiting outside.”
“The barrack was burned and we ran out, trying to find another place to hide. The doctor was pushed to the edge of a slope and got kicked,” he said.
Jump into the slope
Having been trapped in dangerous situations, they decided to jump into the slope. “I was the first to jump followed by the three nurses. I was stuck in the roots of a tree while some were caught in the bushes,” he said.
Unexpectedly, the KKB members chased the health care workers.
“We thought that it was safe to reach the bottom of the slope. But, it turned out they were seeking us. They found the three nurses, but they overlooked me as I was hiding behind the roots,” said Ola.