Nelson Sarira, center, the sole survivor of an armed attack that kills eight telecommunication workers in Papua, is evacuated by police on March 2, 2022. (Antara Photo)

Bodies of Eight Slain Telecom Workers in Papua District Yet to be Evacuated

MARCH 05, 2022

Jayapura. The bodies of eight telecommunication workers allegedly killed by a separatist group in a remote village in Papua three days ago have not been evacuated pending the arrival of a rescue team who is on their way to the scene walking, police said on Saturday.

The victims were workers and contractors for telecommunication company Palapa Timur Telematika (PTT) who were sent to the district of Puncak to repair a cellular tower.

The district government has sent 17 men to the scene and it will take them two days to get there on foot, Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Fakhiri said.

The plan is to carry the bodies to a nearby town and fly them to Timika, he added.

"We are waiting for information from the team who is on their way to the scene before we can evacuate the bodies of those PTT workers," Mathius told Antara news agency.

Police said Wednesday’s attack was carried out by an armed criminal group, the terms used by Indonesian security officials to describe various separatist groups in the easternmost province.

A sole survivor of the attack identified as Nelson Sarira managed to contact the company’s head office in Jakarta requesting immediate evacuation. He was not at the camp when it was under attack from the armed group, according to police.

Nelson has been evacuated by police helicopter to a safe place in Timika.

"Nelson Sarira is being treated by a medical team who reported to us that he is still shocked by the traumatic experience and a questioning is not possible in the meantime," Mathius said.