Firm action to be last resort in dealing with hostage-taking in Papua

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A joint task force, comprising of police and military officers, will do its utmost to use persuasive steps in dealing with a hostage-taking in Mimika, Papua, but firm action will be taken as a last resort if it fails to do so, according to the Indonesian police chief.

"If persuasive means fail and if turns out to be a deadlock, then it would be impossible for us to remain silent. The state must not lose," General Tito Karnavian, National Police Chief, said here on Thursday.

Some 1,300 people, comprising of local indigenous villagers and migrant workers, have been held by the armed criminal group in Bani and Kimbely kampongs, Tembagapura sub-district, Mimika District, Papua Province, since two weeks ago.

He stated that the armed criminal group in those kampongs was taking people as hostages.

"It is said that they (the villagers) are not being taken as hostages. But what does it mean when people are not allowed to leave the area and are at gun point," he questioned.

The number of security personnel deployed in the area is adequate, he remarked.

He hoped that the hostage-taking incident would end without any casualty from all sides.

The general, however, reminded that firm action could lead to a risk of people being harmed.

But, the police would do its utmost to minimize the number of victims if it has to carry out a stern action, he explained.

So far, 21 members of the armed criminal group have been named suspects in terror acts in Tembagapura and have been placed in the wanted persons list.

At least two police officers were shot dead and several other people, comprising of security men and civilians, were injured by the criminal group in Mimika during several terror incidents recently.

Source: ANTARA News

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