4 sol­diers killed, 8 in­jured in ac­ci­den­tal ar­tillery fire

New Straits Times - - World -

JAKARTA: Four In­done­sian sol­diers have been killed and eight oth­ers in­jured by ar­tillery fire in an ac­ci­dent dur­ing train­ing on a South China Sea is­land, the army said yes­ter­day.

The in­ci­dent took place one day ear­lier when an ar­tillery piece mal­func­tioned dur­ing the ex­er­cise in­volv­ing an army re­serve bat­tal­ion in Tan­jung Datuk Natuna, on the north­west­ern fringe of the vast In­done­sian ar­chi­pel­ago.

“The can­non be­came un­con­trol­lable and hit sol­diers in the vicin­ity,” army spokesman Al­fret Denny Tue­jeh said.

Of the eight hurt, four suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries, he said.

The can­non, bought in 2003, was used a day be­fore with­out any prob­lem, he added.

The mil­i­tary have be­gun an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find out what caused the in­ci­dent.

The is­land is part of the small Natuna ar­chi­pel­ago, re­mote In­done­sian is­lands in the South China Sea, home to rich fish­ing grounds and abun­dant oil re­serves.

There have been re­peated clashes be­tween Chi­nese and In­done­sian ves­sels around the is­lands in re­cent times, prompt­ing In­done­sia to bol­ster its de­fences in the area.

In­done­sia main­tains it has no mar­itime dis­putes with China in the South China Sea, un­like other Asian na­tions, and does not con­test own­er­ship of reefs or islets there.

But Beijing’s ex­pan­sive claims in the sea over­lap In­done­sia’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone — wa­ters where a state has the right to ex­ploit re­sources — around the Natu­nas. AFP

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