The district police chief in Paniai, Papua, on Wednesday said investigators had narrowed their search for suspects after the fatal shooting of a police officer at a local airport, a report said.
Paniai Police chief Adj. Sri. Comr. Anthon Diantje said the police believed the attack was carried out by a Free Papua Organization (OPM) group led by John Yogi, Antara state news agency reported.
The attack occurred on Tuesday morning when Brig. Yohan Kasiwaitouw was fatally shot by an unidentified assailant at West Papua’s Enarotali Airport in Paniai. Although the police suggested the Free Papua Organization (OPM) could be behind the attack, they had not previously mentioned a specific group.
Anthon Diantje told Antara that the OPM group led by John Yogi, the son of pro-independence leader Tadeus Yogi, had shot Yohan and fled with his firearm. He added that the group was believed to be in possession of some 20 firearms.
“Without enough ammunition, the OPM can’t survive and continue conducting armed attacks,” Anthon said, as quoted by Antara.
He added that the police were combing an area around the town of Enarotali in Paniai where they suspected the armed group was hiding.
Yohan was shot while washing a car at the end the runway at around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The assailants came and left on a speedboat, as the airport borders the sea.
Yohan is scheduled to arrive in the provincial capital of Jayapura on Thursday for burial by his family.
Papua has seen a low-level pro-independence insurgency since the 1960s. Social and economic injustice as well as human rights abuses by the military and the police have increasingly fueled pro-independence sentiments in the region.