JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Unidentified gunmen ambushed Indonesian soldiers and killed one of them Thursday in the easternmost province of Papua, a military officer said.
Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu, the army chief in Papua, said the attackers ambushed a group of soldiers outside a village in the hilly district of Puncak Jaya.
The soldiers were attacked while taking their food supplies near the district capital of Mulia, Triassunu said, adding that soldiers are still chasing the gunmen.
He identified the victim as a first private who died instantly after being hit by a gunshot to his head, No information was available on the other soldiers.
Papua, a former Dutch colony on the western part of New Guinea, was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot.
However, a small, poorly armed separatist group, known as Free Papua Movement, or OPM, has battled for independence ever since.
The attack was the third this month against the army and came one day after a military tribunal indicted three soldiers for killing a civilian in Puncak Jaya last year.
The sergeant and two privates facing trial in Papua’s capital, Jayapura, are accused of beating and shooting to death a man near a military checkpoint in March.
On July 5, unidentified gunmen attacked an army patrol in the district, injuring a soldier. Another attack later the same day targeted the army reinforcements, injured two others.
Last month, also in Puncak Jaya, a police officer was shot by the suspected members of the OPM.