A day before the 48th anniversary of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), an outlawed militant separatist organization, a member of the group was killed in an exchange of gunfire between fighters and police in Papua’s Jayapura district.
Brig. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, Papua’s deputy police chief, told state-run Antara news agency that officers were “still at the site” and that the identity of the slain militant remained unknown.
A policeman was shot in the hand during the incident and was in stable condition, Paulus said.
The officers, members of the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), were on patrol when the separatists opened fire.
The Indonesian military (TNI) has increased its presence in the province in the past decade.
Earlier this week, TNI solider First Sgt. Wandi Ahmad was shot and injured severely while walking in Illu market, in Papua’s Puncak Jaya district.
Col. Lismer Lumban Siantar, a TNI spokesman, said that Wandi was shot in the face by an unidentified assailant who fled into the forest.
On Friday, the National Police said that they had temporarily increased their forces in Papua by 100 officers to anticipate the OPM’s anniversary, but said that there was no urgent threat.
Gen. Sutarman, the National Police chief, told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday that he would pay special attention to restive Papua.
“We should solve violence in Papua with a humane approach,” he said.
Despite these soft words, he said police would have zero tolerance for displays of the Morning Star flag — a symbol of Papuan separatism.