A large group of people who had been held hostage by gunmen in Papua since early November, were freed in a joint operation by police and the military on Friday (18/11). (Antara Photo/Jeremias Rahadat)
Security Forces Free 344 People Held Hostage by Gunmen in Papua
BY :TELLY NATHALIA
NOVEMBER 17, 2017
Jakarta. A large group of people who had been held hostage by gunmen in Papua since early November, were freed in a joint operation by police and the military on Friday (18/11).
The security forces, including members of the Army Special Forces Command (Kopassus) and National Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), reached the villages of Banti and Kimbely near the Utikini River in Mimika district, Papua, where the hostages were held, on Friday morning, Papua Police spokesman Chief Comr. A.M. Kamal said in a statement.
The gunmen supposedly fled when the security forces, led by Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar and Cendrawasih Military commander Maj. Gen. George Supit, reportedly fired a mortar at a position occupied by members of the armed group that reportedly laid siege to the villages for more than two weeks.
There were no reports of casualties.
More than 1,300 residents, both Papuans and non-Papuans, were trapped in the villages during the siege, but most chose not to be evacuated when security forces arrived.
Several buses were deployed to evacuate 344 people, including 63 women and 24 children, to Tembagapura in Mimika district, where they received medical attention, the police and military said.
Banti and Kimbely are close to the Grasberg copper and gold mine operated by Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of United States-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan.
Police last week issued a wanted list of 21 members of the armed group, believed to be led by Sabinus Waker, who was allegedly also involved in several shootings in 2015.
A police investigator died and one was wounded in yet another shooting incident in the area this week.