JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) – The Indonesian military said that a Papuan rebel had been killed and a soldier wounded Wednesday in a clash, the latest spasm of violence that hit the region the most. East of the country, troubled.
Colonel Muhammad Aidi, spokesman for the Papua Army, said that separatist fighters had ambushed soldiers during a logistical mission to Sinak airport, in the northeastern part of the country. mountainous district of Puncak Jaya.
He added that the rebels were refugees in the jungle after being repulsed. One of them was found dead with the Morning Star flag, symbol of the struggle for the independence of Papu by soldiers who painted the area.
A soldier shot in the leg was evacuated in the mining town of Timika. The deceased, who was not wearing any ID, was handed over to a village chief for burial, Aidi said.
In early December, separatist fighters killed 19 people working on the Transpapwa Highway, an essential part of President Joko Widodo's efforts to develop the region.
The National Liberation Army of West Papua declared that December 2, the date of the attack on construction workers, was the beginning of a war against "colonial" Indonesia that will not stop until the international intervention and the recognition of independence will not have ended.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in his annual foreign policy speech that the country "will not back down an inch" to defend its sovereignty.
Separatist violence against civilians must be punished, but the conflict will not lessen the commitment of the Indonesian government to improving the well-being of Papuans, she said.
An independence movement and a low intensity insurgency have reigned in the Papua region since the early 1960s, when Indonesia took control of the former Dutch territory. Indonesian control was formalized in 1969 by a referendum called "Free Choice Act", organized in an atmosphere of intense intimidation in which only 1,026 Papuans were allowed to vote.
Today, indigenous Papuans, largely excluded from the economy of their region, are poorer, sicker and more likely to die young than people in other parts of Indonesia.
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