Tony Harsono steers investigation into civilian deaths in gun battle

We shall immediately conduct an investigation on the scene where the shooting incident took place

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papua Police's Criminal Investigation Director Sen. Coms. Tony Harsono confirmed leading an investigation team to probe three civilian deaths in a gunfight involving Indonesian troops and armed separatists in a village on September 17.

"We shall immediately conduct an investigation on the scene where the shooting incident took place," Harsono informed ANTARA after being contacted from Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, on Saturday.

However, Harsono declined to divulge details when his team members will conduct the crime scene investigation in Olenki Village, Mabugi Sub-district, Puncak District, Papua Province.

Speaking in connection with the firing in Olenki Village, Puncak District Head Willem Wandik stated on Wednesday that the armed rebels often herded villagers as human shields.

Three civilians killed in the firing are Tekiman Wonda, 33, and two infants identified as Edison Mom and Rudi Mom. The firing also wounded five other villagers.

"Two of them have also been allowed to go home, while three others are still being treated at the Mimika Public Hospital," Mimika Police Chief Adjunct Sen. Coms. Agung Marlianto noted.

Four of the five villagers, with gunshot injuries, have been identified as Topina Mom (36), Tabuni (37), Herina Kinal (32), and Yefrina Mom (16), while the other one is a man, who sustained injuries on his right leg and was evacuated to the hospital Thursday.

To avoid civilian casualties in future, Puncak District Head Willem Wandik appealed to the TNI and police to adopt a persuasive approach that would leave the rebels with no choice but to surrender and cease attacking security personnel and civilians.

Wandik also called upon all parties to maintain peace and end the conflict that some, with vested interests, can use to derive political mileage.

In the meantime, spokesman of the XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Command, Lt. Col. Eko Daryanto, confirmed the civilian casualties and expressed his condolences over the tragedy.

XVII/Cenderawasih Regional Military Commander, Major General Herman Asaribab, will coordinate with the Papua police chief to form a joint team to probe the incident, he stated.

Asaribab will also conduct a comprehensive evaluation on how the operation to hunt down the armed rebels is to be conducted, so that further civilian casualties are averted, he remarked.

Source: ANTARA News

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