In­done­sia hunts sus­pects in al­leged mass killing

Global Times - - WORLD -

In­done­sian sol­diers hunted Wed­nes­day for rebels sus­pected of killing as many as 24 con­struc­tion work­ers in Pa­pua Prov­ince, as an eye­wit­ness ac­count sup­plied by the mil­i­tary de­scribed a grisly mass ex­e­cu­tion.

The sur­vivor’s ac­count de­tailed the killing of at least 19 peo­ple, which if con­firmed would mark the dead­li­est bout of vi­o­lence in years to hit a re­gion wracked by a low-level in­de­pen­dence in­sur­gency.

A Face­book ac­count pur­port­edly run by the Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army of West Pa­pua said the armed group had killed 24 work­ers on the or­ders of re­gional com­man­der Ekianus Ko­goya.

On Wed­nes­day, some 150 mil­i­tary per­son­nel were fo­cus­ing their op­er­a­tion at Nduga, a re­mote moun­tain­ous re­gion where a state-owned con­trac­tor has been build­ing bridges and roads as part of ef­forts to boost in­fra­struc­ture.

Many Pa­puans view In­done­sia as a colo­nial oc­cu­pier and its build­ing work as a way to ex­ert more con­trol over an im­pov­er­ished re­gion that shares a bor­der with Pa­pua New Guinea, an in­de­pen­dent nation.

In­done­sian pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo said Wed­nes­day he backed the hunt for those be­hind what he de­scribed as the “al­leged as­sault.”

“I have or­dered the chiefs of the mil­i­tary and na­tional po­lice to chase and ar­rest all the per­pe­tra­tors of th­ese bar­baric and in­hu­mane acts,” he told re­porters in Jakarta.

Po­lice and mil­i­tary teams sent to the area on Mon­day came un­der rebel gun­fire with one sol­dier killed and an­other wounded in the fire­fight, author­i­ties have said.

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