Policeman, two civilians seriously injured in shootout with rebels in Indonesia’s Papua

JAKARTA (XINHUA) – A member of the police mobile brigade and two civilians were shot by a separatist group in a shootout in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua, Antara news agency reported on Thursday.

The exchange of fire started at 4.50pm local time in an area about 500 metrrs from an airport in Nduga district’s capital of Kenyam a day earlier.

Brigadier Junaidi was shot at his left chest with a bullet penetrating his back.

He was rushed to a nearby general hospital in Mimika district on Wednesday, and was shifted to the Police Hospital in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta for an intensive medical treatment one day after.

Before the shootout, the rebel group, which the Indonesian government calls “the criminal armed group”, shot two civilians near the airport.

Both of the victims are in critical conditions and are being treated at the general hospital in Mimika.

In December last year, the separatists killed 16 construction workers of the Trans-Papua highway in Nduga district.

The Indonesian security forces and the separatists have been frequently involved in shootouts in Papua province, leaving scores of casualties from both sides. Wednesday’s exchange of fire was the sixth since December last year.

Papua province is home to the separatist Free Papua Movement which has been seeking an independence trough guerrilla wars since decades ago, targetting soldiers, police personnel and civilians.