Jayapura, Jubi – The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) in Bintang Mountains Regency, Mountainous Papua Province, allegedly opened fire on a caravan-type Ikaros plane with call sign PK-HVV on Monday, January 9, 2023, resulted in the plane canceled landing in Oksibil. The armed group also burned down the Oksibil 1 Vocational School.
Spokesperson of the Papua Police Sr. Comr. Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo said the shooting was allegedly carried out by the TPNPB Defense Area Command XXXV troops led by Ananias Atimin Bintang.
“The incident occurred at around 10:45 a.m. Papua time, when the plane piloted by Captain Tohirin was about to land on Oksibil from Tanah Merah. But it was shot so it canceled landing,” Benny said in Jayapura City on Monday.
Benny said he could not confirm yet whether there were casualties in the incident as he was still waiting for reports from Oksibil Airport officials. “What is clear is that the plane was a cargo plane carrying merchandise,” he continued.
Benny said his party would investigate and explore the escalation of armed group activity in the Bintang Mountains. “We will conduct a thorough investigation into the case that occurred at Oksibil Airport. We will also count the losses due to the action,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bintang Mountains Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Muhammad Dafi Bastomi said his party guaranteed the safety of flights to and from Oksibil. “Until now we still have not received information about which side was hit by gunfire but we will ensure flight activities at Oksibil Airport, both planes arriving at and departing from Oksibil,” said Bastomi. (*)