Three civilians, including a toddler, have been killed and four wounded after a shootout between Indonesian security forces and armed separatists in the country’s easternmost Papua area, a military spokesman said on Thursday, APA reports citing Reuters.
Wednesday’s incident comes after additional security forces were deployed to restore security in Papua, following a series of sometimes violent demonstrations since August, triggered by concerns over perceived racial and ethnic discrimination. The shootout happened when security forces clashed with separatists in the West Papuan town of Ilaga, said Eko Daryanto, the spokesman: “The separatists started shooting sporadically at joint security forces who were approaching them in front of a honai (traditional Papuan house). After they (security forces) responded with shots, the separatists ran for the woods while shooting indiscriminately,” he said in a statement.
A resident of the area, Noris Wakerwa, said some villagers had fled to the nearby forest when he arrived to help with evacuation: “We evacuated the dead and the wounded to the community health center,” he said by telephone. Daryanto said the military and police would conduct a joint investigation into the shootout.