3 dead as In­done­sian forces pur­sue rebel com­man­der in Pa­pua

Malta Independent - - World -

Au­thor­i­ties and a rebel leader say two pro-in­de­pen­dence fight­ers and a third per­son have been killed dur­ing a week of gun­bat­tles in In­done­sia’s troubled Pa­pua re­gion. A po­lice and mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion is try­ing to cap­ture Purom Wenda, a West Pa­pua Lib­er­a­tion Army com­man­der who au­thor­i­ties say is a petty crim­i­nal who joined in­de­pen­dence fight­ers and later formed his own more rad­i­cal splin­ter group. Wenda, in a state­ment con­veyed via an ac­tivist Fri­day, says two of his fight­ers were killed in a shootout with para­mil­i­tary po­lice and sol­diers af­ter his group shot dead a mo­tor­bike taxi driver they be­lieved was spy­ing for se­cu­rity forces. The mil­i­tary says he was an in­no­cent vil­lager. An in­sur­gency has sim­mered in Pa­pua since it be­came part of In­done­sia more than half a cen­tury ago.

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