A blanket of thick smoke hangs over the town of Kiwirok in the mountainous district of Pegunungan Bintang, Papua, following an attack by a group of gunmen, Sept. 13, 2021. (Antara Photo)

Papuan Gunmen Attack Medical Workers, Burn Facilities: Police

BY :THE JAKARTA GLOBE

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

Jakarta. A group of gunmen has attacked a remote district in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua targeting a clinic and other public facilities, leaving at least a medical worker dead, authorities said on Thursday.

The national police said the attack on Monday was carried out by an armed criminal group or KKB, the acronym used by government authorities in attribution to violent groups in the restive province.

Around 50 people attacked six medical workers at a village in the town of Kiwirok, which is located in the mountainous district of Pegunungan Bintang, district police chief Deputy Chief Commissioner Cahyo Sukarnito was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.

They then burned a clinic, a bank office, a school building and a market.

Four medical workers jumped into a ravine to hide themselves from the attackers, the officer said. Two of them could be rescued immediately after calm was restored, but it took two days to locate the remaining two -- one of them was found dead.

A joint rescue team involving police and military personnel rescued a nurse identified as Kristina Sampe from the ravine on Wednesday afternoon. She suffered stab wounds in the back, Cahyo said.

A doctor broke his arm after being hit with an iron stick by the attackers, he added.

However, attempts to pull the body of another nurse named Gabriela Meilan were hampered by bad weather, Papua Police spokesman Chief Commissioner AM Kamal said in a statement.

“When we tried to evacuate the body, the weather was worsening, making evacuation impossible on such a difficult terrain,” Kamal said. Rescue operation resumed Thursday morning.

All the surviving medical workers are currently being treated at a nearby military post.

Medical workers are evacuated to a military post after being attack by gunmen in the town of Kiwirok, in the mountainous district of Pegunungan Bintang, Papua, Sept. 13, 2021. A female nurse was killed in the attack, according to police. (Antara Photo)
Medical workers are evacuated to a military post after being attack by gunmen in the town of Kiwirok, in the mountainous district of Pegunungan Bintang, Papua, Sept. 13, 2021. A female nurse was killed in the attack, according to police. (Antara Photo)

The attack lasted for about four hours, but gunfight with soldiers who came later that day continued afterwards.

A soldier was shot in the hand, police said, but it remains unclear if there was any casualty in the attackers’ camp.

The attack came nearly two weeks after a deadly ambush at a military post in the town of Maibrat in neighboring West Papua, killing four army soldiers who were caught off-guard by the surprise attack around two hours after midnight.

The national police and the military have launched a massive manhunt targeting at least 11 people accused of murdering the soldiers. 

The Indonesian police release the photographs of 11 native Papuans at a Sorong Port gate in West Papua on Sept. 16, 2021. The individuals are wanted for allegedly killing four army soldiers in the Sept. 2 attack on a military post in Maybrat district. (Antara Photo/Olha Mulalinda)
The Indonesian police release the photographs of 11 native Papuans at a Sorong Port gate in West Papua on Sept. 16, 2021. The individuals are wanted for allegedly killing four army soldiers in the Sept. 2 attack on a military post in Maybrat district. (Antara Photo/Olha Mulalinda)

The Indonesian government has designated KKB as terrorist organization, despite a lack of any specific mentioning beyond the generic term.

Authorities have been beefing up securities in Papua, which will host multi-event sports the National Games early next month.

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