One civilian killed, five wounded in armed attack in Papua

Gunmen attacked a house in Papua province overnight, killing one person and wounding five others, news reports said Wednesday.

The victims were reportedly playing cards when a hail of bullets were fired at their house in Mulia district at around midnight.

Police said the dead victim was Jufri Tandi Payung, Antara news agency reported. The injured were identified as Suryanto Tandi Payung, Alfred Tandi Payung, Yulianus Tandidatu, Yogi Rerang and Marten Tandi Payung.

Last week leaders of the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) threatened to kill security forces and any “straight-haired” non-indigenous civilians.

Enden Wanimbo, a commander of the OPM’s National Liberation Army based in Lanny Jaya, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday that his group was declaring “a total revolutionary war from Sorong to Merauke”, referring to the westernmost and easternmost ends of the region.

“This means all-out war against all Indonesians in the Papuan land,” he was quoted as saying.

Puron Wenda, another OPM commander, also told the Globe that his group would attack not just the security forces, but also civilians who were “non-Papuan,” or not ethnic Melanesian.

“Businesspeople, construction workers, civil servants — all Indonesians will be killed, chased out; not just soldiers or police, anyone with straight hair,” he said.

But the chairman of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), Victor Yeimo, said threats of violence made by the OPM leaders were exaggerated.

“It was intentionally blown up by the Indonesian media. It’s an intelligence operation to dismiss and obscure the peaceful struggle of the West Papuan people,” Yeimo said on Tuesday.

Yeimo said there was nothing new about a declaration of war by OPM because it is already at war with Indonesian security forces “in any place and at any time.”

President Joko Widodo, who has vowed to resolve the conflict, visited Papua this month. He announced pardons for five political prisoners and the lifting of restrictions on foreign journalists seeking to cover the region.

Indonesia took over Papua from the Dutch in 1963. Its control of the region was formalised in a 1969 UN-sponsored ballot many say was a sham.

The OPM has waged a low-level armed insurgency against Indonesian rule since 1965. Security forces have been accused of human rights violations in the campaign to quash the rebellion.

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